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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What is a Hobby?

Chris Hay (KG4WKR) on June 11, 2003
View comments about this article!

Isn't a hobby something one pursues because of an interest in it? If we can agree that ham radio is a hobby, why are so many licensed hams completely ignorant about radio? Many today are calling for lowering licensing requirements simply to get more hams on the airwaves. I think the requirements are already so low that the hobby is attracting many people who should stay on the CB or in Internet chat rooms rather than clog the amateur repeaters.

It seems a lot of newer hams want simply to talk with people about commuter traffic, politics, their computers and the weather and couldn't care less about learning something about their chosen hobby. They have no desire to do any work (which should be fun, if you're interested in the first place) to advance, and just want more privileges because they feel that they are somehow entitled to them simply because they exist. Shouldn't some sort of effort be required to earn more privileges, rather than handing them out like so much government cheese?

I heard an amateur on a repeater with really bad audio. In addressing this problem with her, it turns out she didn't even know what brand of radio she had or what type of antenna was on the car. This is a ham? At least weekly I hear someone loudly complaining about the Morse code requirement or the "fact" that you have to be a rocket scientist to pass that General exam. I'm sorry, but if you're too lazy and/or stupid to pass the requirements of licensing, then get an easier hobby.

Too many hams today want HF privileges given to them so they can babble at greater distances. If we're going to fill the bands with people so ill suited to this hobby, why bother? The upside of all this is that if the dumbing-down process fully permeates our society, I can finally fly a plane and be the surgeon I always wanted to be without having to pass all those silly tests.

Member Comments:
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What is a Hobby?  
by N2WEC on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris,
If you don't like the hobby, I sggest you take the logical steps and become proactive to institute the changes your desire. Using this forum to whine, cry and bitch will not make change; it will however make people dislike you. This is just my humble opinion. I agree with part of what you had to say. You did however, say it very poorly........You can look me up in QRZ or elswhere. I am a No code Tech. I believe in the code requirement and a working knowledge of the "hobby service" Amateur Radio. I hope you find a way to not continue to sound like the people you are complaining about.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
So show us your analysis of the question pools, what questions you’ve suggested to be added to the Tech, General and Extra pools so that hams have the knowledge you think they ought to have.

Bob
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC0LPV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It's kind of disgusting to hear the OT's talk like this /all the time/.

Yes, I understand that there were a lot of CB'ers running to the no-code tech licenses over the past decade. Most of them are not renewing their licenses, becasue ham isn't for them. Those who are--well, Riley is takign care of a lot of them.

I also know that there are a lot of people like myself, who do not care about how hard the tests are, because I already know at least 60% of it from other sources (school, electronics hobby) and can learn the other 40%, which is mainly RF exposure and band limits, rather quickly. Even if you don't already have a background in electronics and radio, it's not something that difficult to study.

Only finishing my masters thesis and a lack of money to buy a decent beginners HF rig has kept me from upgrading to general so far. I've become interested in the QRP technology, so now I have a cheap method to get in--and a reason to upgrade as soon as possible.

Here I sit, a no-code tech, who experiments with and builds my own antennas, I'm putting together a Roanoke doppler kit for my local ham club, I've designed and built some laser communications equipment and have an interest in doing more, and I volunteer in the ARES/RACES group. I also build my own adapters, such as the partially completed, isolated PSK-31 radio interface -- a mode which I am very interested in, both for ragchew/DX and for its emergency communications potential.

When the local club needed to move the repeater last year, I was there with tools and elbow grease getting the thing going in the new location.

I know I'm not the only one; I recently met Mike, n3ypa/0, through our mutual interest in Neon's (www.neons.org). He's in not an entirely dissimilar situation, and he's also very interested in laser communication. We're currently trying to figure out what power we'd need to achieve EME with lasers using the retroreflectors left on the moon by the Apollo astronauts. It apparently has been done, and requires some DSP on the recieving end. It's an interesting project. We're also encouraging each other to upgrade so that we can talk directly--he's about 400 miles distant.

The OT's in the hobby are not the be-all end-all "true hams", and I promise you that the experimentation and technical progress will not halt when your generation signs SK. To top it off, I've met plenty of OT's who, if they were representative of the whole ham community, would be reason enough to go find another hobby. Cranio-rectal inversion is not an affliction only of the young.

What I am trying to say is, THE WORLD IS NOT ENDING and you are not the last generation of "true hams". I'm 26, and I hope to have a good 50-75 years of ham activity in my future--with both off-the-shelf equipment, and my well-stocked workbench.

Jim kc0lpv
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W3RAZ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I supppose you;'d also whine about my call not being from my call area (I live in 8 land). My call belonged to my Grandpa who became a silent key in 1995. He actually was silent before that, it's just he was still alive. In any case, I think me wanting to continue the call is a way of perserving the memory of my grandfather. In any case, some XYL's (more then in the past) have been getting their techs to talk to their hubbies when their running errands. The Hubby sets them up. They have no desire to upgrade and will only renew to remain talking to their hubbies. Is their anything wrong with this? No. I welcome these XYL's who want to talk to their husbands on ham radio. At least they recognize the hobby and will be more tolerant to buying radio gear! We have a lady ham that checked into traffic net the last night and took her first piece of traffic. She was scared to death but our training expert on the air gave her all of the guidance she needed to complete passing the traffic. Soon she'll be a good traffic handler. THESE are the hams we need. Not crotchity you should know every detail of your station kind of hams. I don't care if the station on the other end knows nothing about the antenna. They got their license and are operating the radio. As long as they follow the rules (and if you stick to a name brand rig and antenna, you will at least on VHF/UHF), I don't care if they know their mag mount is a Valor mag mount witha 5/8's whip or a hustler. It plain does not matter.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well put Chris but as you can see expect to get bombarded with flames from the guilty. I am all for helping out the new guy, but when he/she comes into the hobby with a chip on the shoulder watch out. It has been what seems like decades since I have heard any technical discussions on either VHF or HF. Tuning the bands used to be a learning experience with fellow hams talking of their latest homebrew gear or the care and feeding of grounded grid amps etc. I have been licensed for 37 years now and have made my living in the electronic/electrical fields so I guess the cherry's out there are going to call me a old fart, so be it but when a extra class ham does not know how to make a dipole or solder a pl-259 then something is wrong with the system. Now before anybody starts crying and slams me NOTICE that I did not bring up the CW requirement or the I had to do it so should you jazz. I have enjoyed every minute of the hobby but lately I find myself getting turned off by the division in the ranks and some of the poor sounding signals along with pee poor operating habits.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N3UPM on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hobby-(according to Webster)- a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation
I once heard a quip from a comedian, that "no matter what it is, somebody, somewhere, will take it waaaay too seriously." It's human nature to believe that, for whatever reason, we are special and just a tad better than everyone else. I have only been a ham for just over a year, but I have been involved in emergency communications for about 20 years now. I am now the ARES EC for my county, because the OT's just don't think it's worth the trouble. That Extra ticket don't mean squat if you don't Elmer and bring new people in the right way. New people in any field require guidance and encouragement. At least I'll still be on the air when the communications megacompanies convince the FCC that we don't need all those bands dedicated to Amateur Radio anymore. See where all the "technical expertise" and high-speed CW get you on the FRS bands, when that's all you can use. Nuff said.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N2VDY on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I don't really see anyone flaming. I do see a few people making some decent suggestions.

I only wanted to respond to one sentence in the post. I don't know about your area but around here there is no clogging on the 2 meter repeaters. I have heard several area hams comment on the repeaters in the area about how they used to be so busy but now they seem to be dead. Just something to think about.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KB9YUR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Over 40 years ago I had the hobby of collecting stamps and coins. It was exciting up to the
point when I realized that it was no longer any fun and I sold almost all of them. A hobby
should first of all be FUN and enjoyable. It should never become a vocation or get in the
way of family, friends and other life responsibilities. My own reasons for getting into
Amateur Radio were more about finding new and old friends from my younger years.
Learning new skills, modes and having fun has been a very positive side benefit so far.
Talking about other subjects besides radio will always be a plus for me in this hobby.
George ...

 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My suggestion would be to forget about starting another big code no code debate here and channel our energies toward going to the FCC's comment site and file comments on the BPL proposal. How many of you guys have filed anything on this?
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4OCV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You know why I like HAM radio? Because I think it's fun to talk to people around the world using radio. That's all. I'm no electronics expert and never will be. I have no real interest in that. sure, I built an antenna, and a couple of small projects, and it was fun, but that's not my main interest. I just like the idea of using radio to talk around the world. does that make me less of a HAM than someone else? I don't think so. I also like to scuba dive, but I have no interest in building my own regulator or mask. everybody has different interests, but if you like it and have fun, that's all that really matters.

Jeff
 
What is a Hobby?  
by DOODAH on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The hobby is about communicating. Technical knowledge is great, but the licence is needed to transmit. A licence isn't needed for reading books or meddling about with electronics.

It's a bit like motoring - you can be a competent motorist (and the licence is needed to drive) without having a clue about the mechanicals.

You experts can keep yourselves to yourselves, stay in closed groups if you like (no-one's stopping you) or you can welcome newcomers and help them learn. Your choice!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I remember in 5th Grade Ms Kapiagi would have "Hobby Afternoon". She would start off with the 1969 Oxford dictionary of what a Hobby is.

Students would then bring in thier hobbies. I bought in a lafayette Radio 150 in one Electronics kit. This impressed her and a few students.

" a hobby is something you do for your own EDUCATION and Interest, that is NOT part of your work." Oxford crica 1969.

I also bought in some 10 transistor CB walkie talkies, and would expalian how the extra transistors led to a better receiver and transmitter.
Thusly the walkie talkies(under 100mw) had much more range than the 5 transistor super-regeneritive H-T's
all of the kids got as gifts.

Many posters are so right that kids do not want to work for anything anymore!

I remember in the old 1960's TV shows, anytime a ham
was part of the plot line. The Ham was always portraid
as an ultra sucessfull businessman, and town Guru/leader.(except for thst episode on the Munsters)
Herman Munster just some how "GOT HIS TICKET".He was a very liddy, but funny operator. He was talking to some kids on his Multitube ham radio. The Kids convinced him earth was going to be invaded! Thee rest of the episode was Herman getting into a civil defence mode.

I dunno, I loved the challenge of passing every element. A group of us would meet at the FCC field office after cramming for an upgrade.I did not care that I failed 13 WPM 3 times. I wanted phone privledges, and nobody was going to stop me!

CB, internet, and GMRS gives people the impression that Ham radio operators all died off. Even with 9/11 hams did get recognition, but not like in the old days.
With the city Marathon, Hams handle much emergency tfraffic. The TV stations no longer do a "PUBLIC INTEREST STORY" on ham radio.

Like the OXFORD dictionary states, something that is done for recreation, and Is not in connected with work, and is done to learn something we normally would
come in contact with.

I have left the Hobby many times, only to return with new things to learn.

73 MIKE
That is why I worked for my ticket. The ham always knew somthing the other people did not
 
What is a Hobby?  
by NA4IT on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
While it is true that ham radio is a hobby, which I do enjoy, being disabled, a ham operator will never gain full enjoyment of ham radio until he understands just what it is, which the definition for is found on the FCC website:

"The Amateur Radio Service is a voluntary noncommercial communication service, used by qualified persons of any age who are interested in radio technique with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

Notice the very first part of the first sentence "The Amateur Radio Service is a voluntary noncommercial communication service". Twice the word "service" is used.

Volunteerism is the spirit of ham radio. When you begin to use what you have learned to help your fellow man, you begin to appreciate just why you were able to pass the exams!

There are so many aspects of ham radio to enjoy, one should not limit theirself to just one part of it.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N3HKN on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Some of these posts are pure hate. Seems to reflect the "road rage" society. Maybe some of those eposters will take a small step away from the computer long enough to stop beating up people (virtual) to see how bad they appear. Oh, perhaps you have seen some of them on TV - they are the ones at those Little League parent riots.

I agree that the "quality" of conversations is less than interesting on the Ham bands. VHF/UHF is the worst where every time I even mention something technical I am greeted with silence. These people seem to gain their pleasure from talking from a moving car and that is it. Mention radiation resistance or bias and they go into a fog.

Now does this mean that this element of Hamdom is a drag on the hobby - NO. Most of these vry untechnical types are the volunteers that show up at events and emergencies and check into the nets. They serve an essential purpose in the hobby despite their almost total lack of understanding of how the raido works. The worst thing I can say about them is that they are very boring when you speak to them on the radio.

Dick N3HKN
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KD5RZT on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I dont see HIM complaining as much as I see HIM talking about the others complaining about how hard it is to pass the tests.I agree entirely that the tests are being "dummied down" to attract more people,and thats a little sad.I got my first lisc.(novice) in '67 and due to my traveling so much in my job,I let it expire.I was scared to death about trying to get back in and passing the exams.But in 2002 I did it practically without study (tech plus) and only missed my "General" by 3 questions.Anyway I for one dont want to hear a lot of 10-4 good buddy on the air.If thats what I want I'll get a nice Cobra 40 channel or whatever they call them these days....Just my opinion..:)
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N9AVY on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Many good comments here from others.

Ham radio is, after all, just a hobby. Unfortunately, some do take it way to serious. However, there is room for everyone in this hobby. Over the years 99% of those I've met in ham radio are decent people, but the other 1% would do better finding something else.

Our local repeater is very active, mostly during drive times, with "idle chit-chat", but occasionally there are serious technical discussions and newcomers can usually find answers to their questions. The local club is populated by hams of various interests: emergency communications, PSK, APRS, HF, QRP and just good ol' ragchewing.

Upgrading is a personal choice for everyone. The "code" usually stirs up a hornets nest of comments. There are few out there who can't learn code and I've heard all the excuses ! Majority of them are just plain laziness (been there, done that and got the tee shirt!). I worked hard to get where I am in ham radio today and I've tried to put back as much as I got out of it. We need more "Elmers".

Yes, there are some out there who want a "free ride" because they aren't willing to put forth some effort. These people will probably never value their licenses as much as those of us who worked our butts off upgrading.

Whatever your personal views of ham radio are, there is room for them in this hobby. We are licensed communicators and exchanging information (technical or otherwise) is what we should be doing. Oh yes, we should be having FUN, too !
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N9EF on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Those who believe that Ham radio is just about communicating need to read (or re-read) the FCC rules and regs. Look at the Basis and Purpose of the Amateur Radio Service. Anyone who simply picks up a microphone to speak with someone and can't explain how that's possible is not capable of furthering the hobby, or even fulfiling the Basis and Purpose of Amateur Radio.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KB1GMX on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
>>The hobby is about communicating. Technical knowledge is great, but the licence is needed to transmit. A licence isn't needed for reading books or meddling about with electronics. <<<

Not quite. If you have prefixed it with *one aspect of ham radio is..* then I'd buy it.

Ham radio as I know and believe is an activity that you can take lightly or very seriously. For some serious is building an exotic high powered station from bits and pieces. For others that ARES/RACES work. While I have no problem with those that just like to talk on the radio, apparently some seem to. Call that a difference of opinion.

However, I do *feel* That some basic knowledge of procedure and simple electronics is the pervasive part of the hobby. The roots of the hobby are both in the building or understanding and communicating. There is a lot of room in the hobby, find the aspect you like and concentrate there. If over time that becomes too much or boring there's plenty more to try.


Allison

 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by K9PO on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
" I can finally fly a plane and be the surgeon I always wanted to be without having to pass all those silly tests. "

You may well be able to do just that real soon. The Expirimental Aircraft Assoc. Is pushing the FAA to create a new catagory of pilots called 'Sprot Pilot'. The training is less than for Private Pilots and they will be restricted from the denser airspace areas but they none the less will be in the air with all the other planes and with LESS training.

I see ham radio doing the same thing but perhaps with much less risk to the health and safety of the hams already on the bands.

I would say this, that if you want it to change so that only the best qualified are part of your hobby there are two things you must do. First let those that make the decisions know your feelings and desires. Second realize that not everything is as you wish it to be so do you best to help those people whos skills are less than your yours by being an example, a mentor, and an elmer to them.

73
Scott
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N5XM on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I came in via the No-Code Tech route, and it didn't stop me from becoming a full-blooded Extra, but that isn't the point. People are gonna find their own comfort levels. What's wrong with that?

I don't see this as a CW issue at all. At least 99% of my contacts are CW, and I expect to take a set of paddles to my grave, but that is just me. I should experiment with PSK and other Digital modes, I should start getting into building, but if I do, it takes time away from making CW contacts. I don't like that idea. New Hams are either interested in becoming the best Hams they can become OVER TIME, or they aren't. It reminds me of the old teenage dilemma...it takes experience to get a good job, but how do you get experience without a job? "Good" Hams are not made overnight, and I think all any of us can do is be as good of an example to those newer Hams we come in contact with, and maybe they will wonder how we are having so much fun. This stuff happens in every serious hobby I've ever pursued. It is human nature for everyone to want to feel some sense of importance. You cannot change Mother Nature, and you cannot speed up Father Time. :)
 
What is a Hobby?  
by CASPER669 on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I don't believe that the above posts are malicious or intent on being hell-bent. Let's just say that as a community, we can agree that we disagree. With that said, I believe that change starts within the individual - first! If I see/hear something that I disagree with, I first study and research it. I learn all I can about that scenario and begin to formulate theories that would benefit the situation - not just me. I then share these ideas with those involved in the scenario and ask them for ideas. This gets everyone involved in a constructive effort to 'better' the situation. You'd be surprised at the response you get when you gather everyone involved in an effort to 'make it better'. Sometimes, they'll have ideas or suggestions that leave you wondering, "Why didn't I think of that?" Idealy, everyone learns and no one gets hurt. In the real world, you will have those that don't want to make that extra effort. Well, they shouldn't complain.

The point of my post is to inform everyone that we can make it better if we all share our ideas on how to do so. Anyone can complain about anything. But, does everyone who complains offer any constructive suggestions? Ah, this is the heart of the confusion. I'd suggest that the person who wrote the original post find and talk to the control operator of the repeater(s) in their area. Suggest to that person or persons that perhaps it would be "fun" to hold a tech-net once a week. Or, start your own net on simplex for CW. There are all sorts of ways you can get those who aren't too savy in the technological or code areas involved in bettering their status. At the same time, you introduce them to the fun portion of the hobby. Of course, not everyone will participate. Lack of participation should always be expected. It's not a negative. Actually, it helps to weed out those who are genuinely interested in furthering their skills from those who aren't.

Think about it and if you need help, I'd be more than willing to be one of those who participate. I might not reach you on 2 meter simplex, but that doesn't mean we can't ragchew about it on HF.

Thank you all for reading my post. 73 and God bless!

Chris KC2KFW
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KD7EFQ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I am so sick of the crochety oldtimer mossbacks always calling people things like "Extra Lites", "No Code Extras" etc., and always harping that if you didn't do it the old way, then your not a Real Ham. Face it, times have changed and technology has advanced as well as the requirements to access that technology. It is a natural progression. Unfortunately, too many of these old timers see their era slipping away and almost gone, but rather than letting go of the old and embracing the new, they choose to remain stagnant, and thru the fear of facing change and the frustration involved, all they do is bitch and moan and belittle newer hams because it is the only way they can get a feeling of still having control over something they cannot control. I was personally attacked on here by a ham who was a self appointed grammer policeman and didn't like the way I punctuated things. Well, SORRY, But I couldn't care less. There is something for everyone in Amateur Radio. To all those Arrogant old timers who harass newer hams, JUST STAY LOCKED IN THE BASEMENT WITH YOUR BC-610'S OR HARVEY WELLS, WATCH THE COBWEBS GROW, AND QUIT BASHING NEWER HAMS!!!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by WA4MJF on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Scott, this is distrubin'. I thought
the FAA hit a low with the Recreational
ticket. It allows you to depart and
return to same airport.

How much leeway is a Sport pilot gonna
have?

73 de Ronnie
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N2DE on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm one of your model citizens who started by building tube gear, and when I don't wield a soldering iron in my shack you'll find me on CW only. But who says that this is what everyone else should be doing? This hobby has many aspects to accommodate a broad spectrum of interests and we need enough people to justify the frequency allocations that we have. If you like to chat with people and don't care much about the technical underpinnings, why should that make you less of a ham? And let's not kid ourselves here: even the extra class tests are nothing that approaches a professional qualification and make you a certified rocket scientist - even the pinnacle of technical certification for our hobby is relatively trivial and can be achieved by anyone who wants it (including the CW requirement)

I have a friend who owns the most sophisticated stereo system I have ever seen, costing many times more than all my ham gear combined. And all he has is a collection of test records with sine tones and pink noise and what not (plus the measurement equipment) to tune it to absolute perfection - he's not interested in music at all, but spends hours playing with his gear. Took me a while to come to the realization that it was just my prejudice to think that stereo systems MUST be used to play music.

The same is true for ham radio. I find satisfaction with what I have discovered as my niche, and I have no problem letting everyone else explore theirs.

Ulrich, N2DE
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W5HTW on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As could be expected, I suppose, I pretty much agree with Chris. The hobby is about radio, and those who have zero understanding of radio and its principles are not representative of the hobby. The hubby-wife cell phone use of the radios contributes nothing to the hobby except body count.

It is, though, true that the mainstay of amateur radio is the ability to talk far and wide (not wide band, please!) That is what we "do." Our choice of subject, within the realm of decency and legality, should be up to us, and if we choose radio or politices, boating or golf, or Ford farm tractors, that's our right. Generally I have no complaint over the content of ham radio conversations, not even the "bring home the kids, honey" 2-meter cell phones, except as noted above.

What I do object to is an Extra Class license holder who doesn't know Ohm's law. Having begun to hear more and more of these on the air, I think we are getting to where we need to reach a real decision in this hobby. That decision is, do we need license class at all, if the Expert class has no knowledge he can help the beginner with? Why not just make it so no-one needs to know Ohms law, and make it all one class?

The majority of hams use commercially made equipment. And as much as it pains me to say it, we probably don't need to know anymore how to design an oscillator, or build a sideband filter, or even what it means when it says the receiver is triple conversion. All we need to know is how to stay within the band limits and avoid interference. And maybe keep from getting electrocuted.

Technical qualifications for a ham licenses today are knowing how to plug the cable into the computer sound card. Sound like a complaint? Well, yes, but it's also a fact of the state of the art. We just don't NEED to know all that electronics stuff anymore. We are plug and play, like it or not. If that makes us a much closer cousin of CB, then that is the reality of today's ham radio. The object is, for the vast majority of hams, just to talk. They have no interest in the technical end of the hobby.

There are exceptions. Those who build and restore and use the boatanchors, and those who build and maintain the repeaters, and those who experiment with antennas. But they are the minority.

If we awaken and face the the truth, the idea of a technical amateur radio license is passe. Antiquated. All it does is give beginners the opportunity to get the Extra Class and then pretend to be experts, yet without enough knowledge to help another beginner get started. What we do need, though, is an experimenter's license, which would indeed be technical, and would be about radio, not about computers, and would be for those who choose to do real radio, to have the capability to actually get into a radio and work on it. Then let the rest of the hams get on the plug and play radio, and chat away.

Or perhaps we need "two" ham radios. One, the VHF cell phone CB type and the other HF. For VHF you simply fill out an application, state you know the rules, and you are granted a license. But to get on HF, you have to pass a test that says you really have some vague idea of what you are doing with a radio in your hands.

None of that will happen, though I hope we find a licensing structure that stops convincing people who have no idea how to measure a resistor that they are experts in electronics. The key to that is to do away with the expert class of license and make everyone the same. That 'could' happen in the not too distant future.

It is true, one does not need to know how an engine works to drive a car. But the car hobbyist knows. It is only the casual user, which is the majority of drivers, who doesn't, and who doesn't care. But those who make cars their hobby do know. The casual listener who tunes in the rock radio station doesn't care how it works and shouldn't need to. But the hobbyist should. And that used to be us.

Ed
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KT8K on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the position that ham radio is, by its nature, diverse. I enjoy building antennas and operating CW, but I knew a fellow back in the 80's who got his advanced because he knew seven languages and it let him keep up on the local slang in most of them. He wasn't interested in the electronics beyond what he had to know to be licensed and operate his station. I think that is fine.

We need hams of all stripes, and I think we're getting them. A lot of the new hams I talk to are becoming increasingly interested in the technical side, learning CW, and lots of other things they didn't think they'd do well in when they were testing. I believe it will all work out fine. Just keep "elmering", people. That is the function that preserves the hobby for all of us.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N5ACM on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
FAA licensing for aircraft operations is designed to ensure that the pilot has the skills to fly safely in all respects. Despite the extensive exam standards, the certificate is often described as granting the pilot "a license to learn". All pilots, professional or "amateur", spend a lifetime increasing their depth and knowledge of aviation. Why shouldn't amateur radio licensing employ a similar philosophy?

If applicants are rewquired to demonstrate total knowledge of any subject before licensing then there will not be any licensees. There needs to be a reasonable standard established that results in licensees that are able to safely partake of the activity- not total knowledge.

Lastly, my view is that the critical incentive for new hams to be licensed is the quality (and hospitality) of the content on the air- whether the local repeater clique or the world of HF. I don't know how you test and license someone to be gracious and accomodating...seems to me that instead of condescending towards the less technical oriented, that it would benefit the hobby as a whole if you looked at it as an opportunity to share some friendly knowledge.

Best,

Jay
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4OOA on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It is hard to be an Elmer when the potential new licensee comes with a chip on their shoulder and starts telling us what they want and don't want. We need to quiit playing games with the kids and lids. If they want to play with GMRS or CB let them on those frequencies! If ham radio falls to pieces it will be quality that causes it not quanity.

By the way, my license says that I am an Amateur Radio Operator not a communicator. Operating takes more than running your mouth and trying to sounding cool. Now that we have "communicators" the use of prowords and basic radiotelephone procedures have been tossed out!

Again, in my estimation, we need quality not quanity.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KG4PZZ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WA2JJH "Many posters are so right that kids do not want to work for anything anymore!"

I earned Extra at 15 and am working hard to understand it all. I want to be "the best I can be". Don't group all of 'us' into one pile, please. Seems most teenagers just seem to want things handed to them, though.

Just help them find that little "niche" that they need. For me, I found out I REALLY like putting together simple kits. I try to find something at every hamfest for $15-$20 and it keeps my interest going!

Just a few thoughts
Fred
KG4PZZ
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oh- boy its starting already, first thing you know the CW requirement and the old timers get mentioned.
Hey anybody doing any good fishing out there? I found a perch hot spot north of here on Grand lake.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC8WCW on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ya know Chris, you're doing a great job of talking out of both sides of your face. Perhaps you should ask yourself your own question. On one hand, you're making reference to something called a hobby. By definition, I believe that implies that it should be enjoyable. Then you go out of your way to emphasize all the "standards" with all the "perceived" authority of a foreman on an assembly line. It sounds more like a job to me.

My question to you is, who is really doing the whining here? It's has been and continues to be my experience, that the vast majority of newcomers have more than embraced the standards for upgrading. Most of the people I know are very enthusiastic about it. In fact, they're doing it to their highest level of proficiency and ability. A level by the way, that I'm sure often supercedes yours. What I see here, is yet another shining example of a hypocritical Ham. You're making a blanket accusation in response to a very small percentage of people showing interest in the hobby. Could it be that you're actually hoping there's more opposition to upgrading standards than otherwise exists? That way, you can flaunt what you believe to be "status," in a hobby that you've so clumsily defined.

Let me give you a little food for thought. You can find this at, (www.nocode.org/articles/riley_quotes.html). In case you can't figure out how to get there, I'll spell it out for you. This is from Riley Hollingsworth. He says; (Higher standards don't necessarily make more compliant operators). Quote; "My experience is that higher class ops are the problem ops." Now, do I subscribe to that site's suggestion that code should be removed from the Amateur Service? Absolutely not! I do think however, that you need to get off of this insecure ego trip that you're obviously on. Here's a novel idea. Why don't you consider going out and enjoying this so-called "hobby" that apparently brings a whole bunch of stress to your life!

Robert/KC8WCW

 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KG4PGG, you are right I should not have generalised.
I got into ham radio at 16. There are many older Ham to be's that want no test, or a simple like the drivers test for a General Ticket.

I started with kit building too. I think it is a good way to start. I got my first kit when I was 6.
I am just finishing up the pixie 2 QRP transceiver, just for fun. A $15.00 CW transceiver. 300mw output TX, direct conversion receive. Takes 20 minutes to put it together.

We live in the New "PLUG and PLAY" generation.
Kits are better then ever. It is that newbies feel they must have the latest rig. Some feel they hsve to have that New icom $8000 rig.

Also in Urban area's joining the Boy scous is not considered cool. I understand correctly most Boy scouts know code.

Congardulations on being the exception, rather then the rule. When I started the club had me at 15, and a 72 year old in the novice class.

This hobby has so many facets to it. Digital modes, QRP, and DC to daylight portable rigs.

The FCC's mandate of ham radio was to have a group of skilled people in electronics and communications.

If you really want a nice certificate from the FCC, study and pass the Commercial Radio Telephone. Strike while your study habits are hot.

There are plenty of young people in ham radio. However since internet and the PC, Ham radio is not considered hyper cool by many young people.

Just when you think you have done it all in ham radio, something else new in ham radio steps in.

I am getting back into kit building again. What you can build for $50 are amazing.

73 and keep up the good work! MIKE
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W0FM on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I was first licensed as a Novice in 1962. Upgraded to Tech, General, Advanced and finally Extra. Do I know everything about the hobby? Absolutely not. I try to learn something every day. That's why I spend time on this site....to learn.

I was issued a license to drive a car about the same time that I got my Novice. I'm a decent driver, but the State didn't require me to me to be an auto mechanic before I could get a license to drive. I learned early on (when a buddy and I attempted a valve job on my '55 DeSoto) that I was not "into" automobile mechanics. That doesn't make me a poor driver.

We are in a constant learning process and I, personally, enjoy every minute of it.

Terry, WØFM
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KD7EFQ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I Sort of agree with W5HTW about Different class licenses where family members can get involved. I always thought that a good idea to promote the use of an underused band would be to allow anyone in the immediate family to have access to the 222-225 band as long as there is one license holder of appropriate class in the immediate household. Not all family members are going to be interested in getting licensed, however this would benefit the Ham's family and increase use of a band that is underutilized and in danger of Corporate takeover. :-)
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KKQ8960 on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
this is why i
do not want to be a ham because someone will always belittle me for not being perfect as the old time hams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'd like to adress a couple of the comments made here on this subject.

First, from the original poster:

"...seems a lot of newer hams want simply to talk with people about commuter traffic, politics, their computers and the weather and couldn't care less about learning something about their chosen hobby. They have no desire to do any work (which should be fun, if you're interested in the first place) to advance, and just want more privileges because they feel that they are somehow entitled to them simply because they exist."

Don't assume that YOUR hobby is their hobby, just because you both use some of the same equipment. Thier hobby may be talking to others about traffic, politics, computers, etc. Although I don't own any transcievers, I got my license several weeks ago. The single biggest turn off for me in listening to the local repeaters is when the same group of 3 or 4 talk for 4 hours about, "Ok, when I flip this switch, how do I sound? Ok, how about now." Between every querry, all of the other hams have to offer a 2 minute analysis of how the microphone sounds or what might be wrong. It all sounds ok to me, but in any event, the problem was diagnosed 30 seconds into this 20 minute conversation. That said, I don't criticize these hams. When I get my radio, I simply won't join these conversations. I don't have any right to expect that others will only discuss topics of interest to ME. If you don't like the current topic, go find another repeater or go find someone on HF.

Do you believe that in order to be a good or at least happy golfer or target shooter or whatever, you have to be able to build your own clubs or rifle? If you can't discuss the relative merits of gun powders long off the market for hours on end that you don't have any right to be a target shooter? If every person coming into a hobby has to master all of the minutia that was once relavent to the hobby, very few will chose that hobby. If you really believe ham radio would be better off with 50,000 hard core operators (mostly north of 50) than it would be with 500,000 with an average age of 30, I think you are nuts.

Next from a reply post:

"While it is true that ham radio is a hobby, which I do enjoy, being disabled, a ham operator will never gain full enjoyment of ham radio until he understands just what it is, which the definition for is found on the FCC website:"

No, YOU may never gain full enjoyment until YOU understand...." I don't have to understand the chemistry involved in yeast causing dough to rise to gain maximum enjoyment out of a good, warm doughnut. I don't begrudge YOU your hobby, and I resent you assuming that I am somehow less of a hobbist because I don't share your exact beliefs.

Another poster stated he didn't want to hear a bunch of "10-4 good buddy" nonsense on ham bands. I agree. But for those of us new to the hobby its hard to spot the difference between "10-4" and "73" or "whats your QTO?"

Although I am making some effort to learn code, mostly for the challenge (not because I believe it has much practical use), its threads like this that make me believe that I will just stay with my tech license. I origninally intended to get my license soley so I could do some weather chasing/spotting. But I may also participate in some general 2m rag chewing. However, I am seeing fewer and fewer reasons to go anywhere beyound 2m. Folks seem very friendly on 2m and I don't have to deal with all this "extra-lite" nonsense as most 2m users (in my area) are techs.

-daw

 
What is a Hobby?  
by AC7GO on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
People who take radio and electronics seriously pursue a professional career in engineering or technology. People who pursue amateur radio are "amateurs", which translated from the French means "those who love" what they are doing.

I think that getting a ham license of any grade, regardless of the rules under which one gets it, is a respectable accomplishment representing some serious work. But rather than rest on our laurels, and think that passing exams and gaining proficiencies have earned us the right to criticize and demean newcomers and those less technically oriented than ourselves, let us work toward the kind of respectability which comes from tolerance, patience, kindness, helpfulness, cooperation, etc.

This is a tremendously fun hobby. When you are having this kind of fun, the technical proficiencies cannot help but rub off and sink in.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by RADIO123US on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I do not like what I hear on the local 2 meter repeaters in my area either. They sound more like CB than ham radio repeaters. I have found that there are more technical conversations on the local 440 mhz repeaters and have started monitoring them instead of 2 meters. My point is, if you don't like what you are hearing, then change the frequency.

There are always going to be those that are too lazy to make the effort to upgrade and learn new things. Unfortunately, these are some of the same individuals that are the most vocal in these discussion forums :) I hope that someday they will realize that the problem is not with the licensing system, but within themselves.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KA5N on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The neat thing about any hobby is that you are free to go as far as you want into the hobby. Sure you see hams that don't seem to know anything, but it's that way all over. Interests change over time. I am not interested in the same things in amateur radio as I was in 1954 and one reason is that things are not like they were in 1954. Then everything used tubes (transistors had just been invented), computers were huge and used acres of vacuum tubes and computed little, and on and on. People who don't get involved just miss out on the good stuff. Leave them alone.
Allen KA5N
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KZ0ZZ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
In case you have not noticed, ham radio is dying. There are many reasons. I think making it easier to get into ham radio has actually hurt rather than helped. Many of the older hams are becoming less active, discouraged by all that is going on in the hobby. I wrote my ARRL director to give my opinion of the direction ham radio appears to be taking. He wrote back and essentially said that he also did not like the current direction, and stated that he could stand out on the corner and give out licenses for free and not attract many takers! So as we continue to attract losers in to the hobby we are not attracting any high caliber recruits and are losing many higher quality hams to other pursuits. I expressed my opinion to the FCC and ARRL and lost. That is fine, I have moved on to other more rewarding hobbies. So other hobbies gets my discretionary income instead of the ham radio manufacturers. Ham radio is a much different hobby than it was just a few years ago. I leave the hobby to the new breed of ham. Ham Radio - RIP.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W4MY on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
How much have things really changed? My background: I was licensed as a teenager in the ‘70’s and 25+ years later are things really that much different? Lets see…
When I upgraded to general in 1976 (the Novice was two years and out!) I remember all the crotchety old times on 75 meters in the evening being somewhat rude and clique-ish. They still are. I remember that getting calls back from phone CQ’s was hit and miss, but getting calls from CW CQ’s was quite easy. Its still that way for me. I remember 2 meter FM (repeater) qso’s of old timers talking about their latest operation, who died, and club politics, it’s still the same here. I remember discussions about whether CW is a worthwhile requirement for ham radio….Ditto. As a teenager I remember all hams were older than me. At 45 now, its still the case.

My conclusion. Don’t worry about the mule going blind, just load the wagon!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by VE6DDT on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Any hobby, any, has different levels of enthusiasts.
Why should Amateur Radio be any different ?
Shoot, I like to listen to music, doesn't mean I have to know how they get the music on the CD/Album/Casette.
I suspect you drive a car, can you rebuild your engine from the bottom up ?
You in the U.S. have many levels of licenses, and I think, specifically for this reason.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by RADIO123US on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KZ0ZZ, ham radio is NOT dying. There are more licensed hams today than there has ever been. I will agree that because of the lower standards, ham radio is attacting less technically oriented people. That can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. I am very happy to see people from all walks of life joining the ham radio community...this is a very good thing. The bad thing is, due to the lower standards, we are attacting more of the CB/Freeband operators. These CBers are the one that show up on the 2 meter repeaters using CB slang and 10 codes. Hopefully, they will realize the error of their ways and change, or they will get bored with their limited priviliges and go away. Ham Radio is not dying, it is just changing. While I do not like a lot of the changes that I see, I'm not giving up on the hobby yet.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K5LOR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I believe that the Ham Radio hobby today consists of two general types of people. These two types of people are technically minded people and socially driven people. The two are not mutually exclusive, but most people fall more into one category more than the other.

The people who like technical equipment, tasks, and systems enter the hobby for a challenge and a sense of achievement for creating a system that is capable of talking around the world through radio waves. The technical people enjoy trying new antennas, radios, feedlines, and building their own systems. This type of person also entered the computer hobby/world in the 70s and 80s before everyone knew what RAM was. They begin the technical hobby because they live a technical life. Unfortunately, our hobby has lost many of these gifted people to the computer world.

The second type of person in the ham hobby is driven by social reasons. They endure the tests to gain access to a social network. They were people who wrote letters during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Now that everything is electronic in nature and the new generation knows much more about computers, electronics, and communication, these people can pass the tests to socialize and never look back at the technology. They buy radios and antenna and have other people install them. They just want on the air and do not care if their installation is correct or efficient.

Being one or the other of these people is not a bad thing. I feel that computer age is catching up with the ham technician and general tests. People can pass the exams without studying much due to an increase in general technical knowledge. This has allowed more and more non-technical people (social) into the hobby. They have a right to be on the air according to our rules and if the technically minded hobbyists want to keep them out, they should fight to change the tests.

I personally think that the tests should be rewritten and test banks should not be given out. This would force people to study some and learn more about the technology that drives this hobby. The problem with this idea of increasing the difficulty of getting licensed is ham radio will loose many potential members and runs the risk of dieing. I am sure none of us wants this to happen, but driving out the non-technical people will require revamping the exam system.

Incase you cannot tell from my comments, I am a technical person. I am a network engineer by trade and enjoy learning more and more about all kinds of communications. My latest interest is ham radio. My father is a technical person and has been in the hobby for years. I grew up listening to him talk to neat places all over the globe. I forgot about the hobby until after college. I always thought getting my license would be tough, but I passed the technician and general requirements quickly. I felt a little bad about how easy it was to get certified. I am now diving into antenna, radio, and system building to find the challenge I was looking for. I enjoy talking with other hams all over but the reward of making the contact with my system fuels my sense of success. I feel that is what the hobby is all about. In my opinion, the life long techs are a necessary evil and we must tolerate the lack of drive many hams have to increase their knowledge of the technical aspects of our hobby in order to preserve it. There is strength in numbers and we technical hams need to pass the info on to insure the next generation can learn enough to continue the hobby.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WB9GKZ on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
When I was a Novice (1971) I had to pound brass to my examiner, wind coils on toilet-paper tubes, solder my first receiver till I burned my fingers, attend the local club meetings and bow-down to the Generals and Extras.

Today's ham is a communication hobbyist. Communicating by radio is no longer in the mainstream of American life like it was in the past. Our hobby has evolved into a communication niche, one that involves push-to-talk. It will never be what it was in the first six decades of the last century.

Get with it. It is not 1955 anymore.

Today is plug-and-play and get talking. Get used to it.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"There are always going to be those that are too lazy to make the effort to upgrade and learn new things."
So, if I am a person who enjoys hiking, and you are a person who enjoys running marathons, the difference between us is that I am "too lazy to make the effort to upgrade and learn new things, but you are not?".

Do you consider yourself arrogant?

-derek ward
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"The second type of person in the ham hobby is driven by social reasons. They endure the tests to gain access to a social network. . . .They buy radios and antenna and have other people install them. They just want on the air and do not care if their installation is correct or efficient."

What sort of bunk is this? So just because they prefer to have someone else take care of the technical aspects means they don't care if its done well? Perhaps it just means that they don't care to spend several hours a day trying to figure out how to tweak that extra 0.000006% db of gain or whatever. If I pay someone to do work for me, I may not expect it be perfect, but doesn't mean I don't care if its not "correct".

-daw
 
What is a Hobby?  
by RADIO123US on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC0QBV, no arrogance here...I'm stating a fact. If you are happy with a technician class license and your current priviliges, then that's great. That is NOT an indication of being lazy. What IS an indication is those that are constantly whining and complaining in these forums about the rules being unfair and unreasonable. The ones that spend more time complaining than studying.

If a tech class ticket meets your needs, then I will welcome you on to the ham bands (50 mhz and above)...just please don't whine and complain about not having any priviliges on the HF bands.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8KQE on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I think the bottom line is if you pass the FCC test(s), you must know a bit about the hobby to begin with. It's not as if you are totally ignorant about basic radio and propagation theory (unless, of course, you have a bad memory and literally forget all you've learned). As you 'climb the ladder' of license classes and priveleges, and immerse yourself in Ham Radio over time, you learn a bit more. That's how it should be. Many of us don't need to know super advanced electronics theory because most of us don't work on our radios extensively and/or we'll never use the knowledge. We are 'appliance operators' to an extent. And that's OK! We have OTHER hobbies too! We can build and work on antennas, solder connectors, and maintain proper equipment operations to get on the air. I am not out to impress myself or others by claiming to know super advanced electronic theory I will never use anyway! But I do know enough about the basics and propagation to be able to ENJOY and UNDERSTAND much of the hobby! This is the main point. There may be some hams who are able to pass the tests, and get on the air without listening to 'proper, accepted QSO protocol' while first monitoring, or first reading the 'ARRL Operating Manual', and, yes, to your point, they are annoying. I actually heard some licensed dude in '5 land' (I won't post his call) on 50.125 the other day say "CQ DX Skipland" repeatedly until he got some contacts, and he would not move off the natinal SSB calling freq for 6m! He stayed on for at least 25 minutes during a good opening, even though others asked him to move!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
". . .ham radio is NOT dying. There are more licensed hams today than there has ever been."

Sorry, but it likely is dieing. (1) the internet can do much if not all of what ham radio can do and do it better, fastre and cheaper (2) this is especially true for DX type uses (3) to the extent its not currently true, it will be soon. As to your second point: (4) there are also many more people today than ever before. In fact, there are likely more people now alive than have lived during all of human history. Even if your statement about there being more is true (and I suspect you are merely counting licenses, many of which could belong to SKs or no longer active hams), it doesn't matter. The percentage of people who are hams is probably more important than raw numbers for purposes of saving the hobby.

The cruel irony for many here is that I suspect that 2m will outlive HF. Although a computer can be used to contact someone in China or Africa with little difficutly, they don't really help you reach your friend who's riding his bike (never minding the control computers used by the phone cos). If you just want to chat with a bunch of like minded folks while you drive, even cell phones don't do this taks well. Thus, it seems that the internet and cell phones probably do a worse job at filling the 2m niche than they do at filling the HF niche.

Don't get me wrong. I don't hope that any of this is true. I don't want to be correct. I think ham radio and HF in particular has a special quality lacking in other methods (even though I don't personally have a strong interest to participate). But its a changing world and I suspect that the airwaves are only going to get more crowded.

-daw
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"KC0QBV, no arrogance here...I'm stating a fact. If you are happy with a technician class license and your current priviliges, then that's great. That is NOT an indication of being lazy. What IS an indication is those that are constantly whining and complaining in these forums about the rules being unfair and unreasonable. The ones that spend more time complaining than studying.

If a tech class ticket meets your needs, then I will welcome you on to the ham bands (50 mhz and above)...just please don't whine and complain about not having any priviliges on the HF bands."

Good, I am glad we can be friends! I certainly don't complain. As i stated earlier, I am practicing CW, mostly for the challenge and the challenge of passing the higher tests. I don't necessarily intend to take advantage of those license privileges, but I like the option.

I tend to look down on people that complain about the rules simply because the tests are not difficult (with the exception of CW for many). I think we probably agree.

-daw
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC0ODY on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oh boy! *Another* fun verbal "who's a REAL ham?" debate, with your guest hosts, the perenially hemorrhoidal!

I've only been licensed for 6 months, and since then I've gone from knowing absolutely zero about radio and electronics to getting my General, nearing 100 countries contacted, and only a few states shy of WAS. I also just built a shortwave receiver, the very first time I had ever built anything electronic, and it actually works.

I don't use "Q" codes on the local repeater, have never held a CB mike in my hand, and am respectful of those who have been in the hobby a lot longer and who know a lot more than me...

... so, where do I sign up for my 'REAL HAM' trophy??

Oh wait; maybe I not qualify because I didn't pass the 13 WPM code exam... or maybe I don't qualify for such an award because I have not yet built a more complex electronic device, such as a transceiver... or maybe I don't qualify because... because...

The point I am trying to make here is that my standards of what's fun about the hobby, and who is a 'real' ham, aren't necessarily shared by anyone else. I chase DX and am starting to build kits because it is FUN, not because I have to prove something to someone else. I don't care for the digital modes, but I am certainly not going to put down those who do use them by saying, "'computer' radio isn't REAL radio!", because I don't believe that, and because my opinion should not matter to those who do like certain modes that I don't use.

As far as I can tell, the only things you really need to be a real ham is an FCC-granted license and some equipment with which to pursue the hobby. Beyond that, how you choose to pursue it is up to you.

Illegitimi non carborundum!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K0EWS on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Trollin, trollin, trollin, keep them topics trollin, trollin, trollin, trollin, HAM-FIIIIIIGHT!

Chris, you may have some points in this article, but I've seen them all before. If you are truly interested in radio, like you say, how about an article about your latest project, or something technical? I would love to read it. It seems like we go round and round with this one about every week or two here on eHam, so I'm not touching this one with a ten foot pole, other than what I've already stated. 73 to all, and lets all put away the keyboards and mice, find the band/mode of your choosing, and let's get on the air!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K5LOR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC0QBV, like I said before, the two categories of people in ham radio are not mutually exclusive. You may want to chat with you buddies and still be interested in technical aspects of the hobby. I consider myself a technical person who likes to communicate over the radio, but I dare not communicate without wanting and striving to learn more about the technical portion of the hobby. Communicating is great and critical portion of our hobby but not taking the initiative to learn more about the hobby (i.e. technical information) puts you into the social category. If you do not want to learn how to tune the antenna you bought, then you are quickly falling into the social category. That is not a bad place to be and may make you happy. By the same interest, if you are a technical enthusiast and do not care to be social (i.e. not answering CQs are reply to QSLs) then you have fallen to the other extreme which is not a good place to be. There are many interests in ham radio but not learning about the technical aspect of the hobby will not help future radio operators.

In fraternal organizations and clubs, you must always be concerned with two aspects. One is membership numbers and the second is the quality of members. I feel that socially motivate hams (i.e. XYLs talking to there husbands) aid in the numbers portion of the equation but not in the quality aspect. We need both numbers and quality. For now, I will take numbers with a few quality members to keep things going.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N3IJW on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC0QBV, please provide referenceable figures to back up your statements regarding the ham population as compared to the overall population. I think you'll find the inverse is true.

As far as the internet replacing amateur radio, that won't be possible until I don't have to pay for my internet connection, can use it anywhere in the world, and can initiate contact with anyone without being accused of sending unsolicited mail.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by VE7AZC on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hi fellas, here'e my opinion:

To me this is all academic. Ham radio is just a hobby that I do for distraction when I'm alone or everybody else is asleep. I am the consumate appliance operator, having passed the various tests because I had to in order to get on the air. Being advanced in Canada means no more than passing the 5WPM code (duh), understanding a few electrical principles, and memorizing the answers to the exams. I'm living proof that any bozo can do that! I have tried my hand at electronics, but I'm a more mechanical kind of guy.

A hobby can be challenging, but really it's for fun, and that's it. It is entertainment. It does not fall under the classification of "important" any more than any other leisure activity, unless the amateur service actually contributes in times of civil distress. I would guess that the vast majority do not contribute, but use ham as a fun way to communicate and get to know new people and modes. It also is a convenient way to bleed off our blistering male need to have electronic doo-daffers, and it helps us to rid ourselves of needless excess cash.

This particular hobby interestingly causes some to hide away in shacks and rooms for long hours, avoiding family and real face to face human communication(except at mealtime) all in an effort to communicate in a faceless way with people far away. Kind of ironic, isn't it? I'm sure that some wives get the message loud and clear.

This hobby is fun, but in the end it's just a hobby. If ham dies, there are other hobbies around. Swim or sink.

Cheers,

Herb
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG6RIF on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I just passed my technician test on Sunday. Today, I found out my call sign and got an account here.

First let me say this: I studied my butt off for the technician test. I knew the material cold. I didn't just memorize the questions and answers with the ARRL guide book.

I wanted to get my license not because I just wanted to 'ragchew' with people. I wanted to understand the science, the technology, and all the other technical details. I tuned in for over a year to Extra class guys on and around 7100 just to see what they talked about and to listen to them help each other tune and perfect their signal. I tuned into 28680 every night to try to decode SSTV. I thought it was amazing- sending pictures through the air, I had to be a part of that.

To me it's an esoteric and elite hobby. You really have to know the material, you have to abide by the rules, you have to understand what you're doing. You have to have good understanding of electronics, the atmosphere, antennas, etc. And once you do, you can bounce radio waves off the moon, QSO with a distant CW contact, send SSTV pictures, join emergency response organizations to help out...the possibilities are almost endless. There's so much to explore.

So I might be one of the guys who got an 'easy' cracker-jack license, but I did study hard for it. I respect those who have been in the hobby for years and decades, and I fully intend to learn CW and study for the General license because I really want to get on HF.

Technician class is not an end-goal of mine, it's just a stepping stone to something even cooler, and I can't wait.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KZ9G on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Yes -- Ham Radio is changing!

Like KG4PZZ, I was first licensed as a Novice at the age of 15 (1981). And, I've seen how the Personal Computer (PC) has positively and negatively affected our hobby, nation, and world. Needless to say, it's really been quite an amazing ride.

I was intrigued with radio communication and electronics from an early age, earning my Novice and General the "old" way - first by a local ham that I had to hunt down on my own, and then via the Chicago FCC Field Office which was 185 miles distant. The General upgrade required my parents to make the Iowa to Chicago trip a mini-vacation... I passed the test and celebrated by visiting the Museum of Science & Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and the History Museum while there. From there, my technical hobby and career have progressed until today. Gee, I'll be able to join the QWCA at the ripe old age of 40 in just 3 short years. Am I old? NO... Have I been a productive member within the Amateur Radio and my telecommunications and military professions over the last 20+ years - YES!

For me, it boils down to this. Technology and society are intertwined and changing (reference Moore's Law for the tech side). Older, technical hams, industry technicians and engineers have mastered technologies that just don't seem to be as important to the superficial as they once were. Therefore, middle-aged and older technical folks continually need to stay abreast of new technologies - essentially embracing them. Obviously, those that do this possess considerable knowledge. It will be the judicious application of this lifetime of knowledge that will help out and "win over" the younger generations. I believe this is called wisdom. That being said, I know I have much to learn from both the older and younger generations.

Ham Radio has changed. Is it better or worse than it was 20 years ago? I don't know. I do know that I'd like to keep it alive, strong, and vibrant. If the young and old alike can find productive ways to pass on our knowledge we’ll be fine. Let’s break down the barriers that divide us and move on. I liked the 13 and 20 wpm code tests for the challenge. But the code requirements have changed. It’s a moot point now. Let’s move on… The same can be said about the written questions. If you feel strongly about the question pools, join the committees addressing those pools and make changes. Otherwise, move on to something more productive. Change is inevitable. Embrace it and take an active, constructive part in the future. Let's strive to be good examples and leaders. 73.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by WB2WIK on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KG6RIF, congrats on the ticket and the new callsign!

If you've been listening to Extras on 7100 kHz, they must have all been on CW, because the U.S. 40 meter phone band starts at 7150 kHz...and most of the rest of the world only has privileges below 7100 kHz. But, anyway....

I don't think it's important for hams to be experts in anything, although some always will be. But there is absolutely no doubt that more "newbies" today come into the hobby with absolutely no knowledge, and no interest in obtaining that knowledge. A byproduct of the Era of Instant Gratification, I suppose. Now that we can do so much research on the 'net, libraries are closing. Although there are still a few great libraries left in my neighborhood, about two-thirds of all local residents under the age of 30 wouldn't know how to find one of them.

That's quite a contrast to my childhood, when most all kids I knew, including me, spent half our lives there, reading in libraries because we were limited to checking out only three books at a time but wanted to read many more than that.

WB2WIK/6
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It is a hobby with many sub hobbies within it. You have your QRP hams. You have the dying breed of lets build it from parts.
You have your antenna specialist's
You have the lets see how much power I can run.
You have what I found to be a positive surprise. When I first heard of NO-CODE TECH, my knee jerk reaction was...there goes ham radio. I was proven wrong, I have met so many NO CODE TECHS on 440, who are true gentlemen. Many could learn from their behavior.

You have your gee, got to have the newest rig that comes out.
You have the..No radio wil replace my Collins S line.
You have the...There has to be a mod I can do on it.
You have the ultra serious contesters
You have the...If it aint a digital mode, leave me alone!
You have your field types.
Young, old, and some just have mold!

I am sure I have missed many types of hams.

I do miss the days, when Ham Radio was the town mad scientist's hobby.
On TV or a movie, the ham was the town genius!

Lets all learn from each other, then bicker over what type of Ham we is!!!!!

Viginia ham, Taylor smoked Ham, hicory smoked ham, boiled ham, ham on rye, Ham steak.

73 and laughs MIKE

Peace and 73 MIKE

I can go on and on.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"KC0QBV, please provide referenceable figures to back up your statements regarding the ham population as compared to the overall population. I think you'll find the inverse is true."

I don't claim these are real numbers. I was trying to make a point and I fully acknowledge that the numbers were pulled from the ether. I believe my generaly premise is correct, but I am more than willing to stand corrected if someone has good numbers.

"As far as the internet replacing amateur radio, that won't be possible until I don't have to pay for my internet connection, can use it anywhere in the world, and can initiate contact with anyone without being accused of sending unsolicited mail."

Understand that I have not lived without daily, in-home internet access since 1994. My job would be nearly impossible without always on,highspeed internet access. So I don't think about having to pay extra for internet any more than I think about having to pay extra for telephone service. Also, consider that for about the same or less than a decent 2mHT, you can buy a perfectly useable PC to communicate with 10s of millions of peopel world wide without having to wait for a sattelite to come into view or the proper sun spot cycle. If you can live without high speed access and really only want BBS chat, IM and email, you can easily get by with a $8.00 per month ISP plan. I suspect that most here spend more than $8.00 per month on their hobby. I don't believe your argument that ham is less expensive than internet communication holds water.

Granted, the internet is not very useful to most (although it is probably accessible) when you are traveling around in your car or on the back 40. But if ham is going to survive based upon this one exception, I think its in trouble. Its only a matter of time (probably less than a decade) before fully portable internet access is a practical reality and not just a novelty.

I don't think I have ever had anyone complain about an unsolicited email. Furthermore, email tends to be more useful for "getting things done" whereas BBS type chats are better suited for general discussions.

I hope ham survives another 150 years. I think it is a neat hobby that can be 100 different things to 100 different people. But I have a strong feeling that we won't be having this conversation 50 years from now.

-daw
 
What is a Ninny?  
by WA2CWW on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, Bob, it looks like you've irked the usual ninnies, the "bad attitude police" types who seem to play such a prominent role here on eHum. You know--the sensitive souls, the "don't rain on my parade" crowd. They start sniffling and holding back tears if you take a justifiably critical tone about anything. After all, it's not nice!

Needless to say, I share your concerns about the hobby. But, then, I'm an old fart, and like most old farts, I liked things better back in the old days. But since we can't turn back the clock, the only option we have is to sound off. It's a shame so many people "can't handle the truth."

I have no idea how old you are--actually, I don't remember if you mentioned your age. But like old farts everywere, you seem to have acquired some "old time" values. Bravo.

It's too bad that the trends are going against us. A good hobby is suffering from this misguided notion that we need more hams in order to hold onto our frequencies--as if any self-respecting business would want to depend on twenty meters for its vital communications.

The hobby is also suffering from the notion that people won't be interested unless entry is made easy. That's dead wrong. If only the FCC would make entry tougher, the self-respecting go-getter types would start taking an interest. It's like colleges: Harvard probably gets around 15,000 applications and accepts a few. Brand "X" college gets 2000 applications and accepts almost all.

That is, higher standards make for a better freshman class--and a better class of amateur. Good people will always find membership in an elite attractive.

Pretty soon the manufacturers will be putting video games on all those fancy screens on the new generation of transceivers. That should attract a whole lot of newcomers. Oh, boy, I can't wait.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KE4QDC on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris I echo your thoughts. It does appear here that on a lot of the local repeaters that the younger ones just babble and babble. It took me several years to learn the code to get into ham radio but I wanted it bad enough to do whatever it took to get it under my belt and I am proud that I did. It was hard for me just like it is hard my some people today but if they want to enjoy ham radio they will do whatever it takes to get past whatever is standing in their way.

Ferrell
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K3IVB on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree totally with Chris. I have been active for over 21 years and no longer own anything above HF for the reasons he states. But I will say this, I still enjoy meeting tons of very nice people all over the world via CW, granted lots of them are old timers but that's fine with me. I am having fun. I hope all the new people on VHF and UHF are having as much fun as I am too because after all, it's our hobby.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W8FAX on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Who's the DX???????
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N6AJR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have been a ham since 1978. I heard the same gloom and doom songs way back then about ham radio. For instance there was a rumor that even though there was only about 300 thousand hams in the USA at that time there was aproximately 800 thousand FT-101's sold. Duh I wonder who bought the rest. Perhaps a CB'er or two.

There is always some one complaining the test is too hard, others say you should have todo it this way because I had to. Here is the Facts... You take the test given when you apply for your license. It ain't our choice, it is determined by the FCC, so quit whining about things out of our control.

I was a CB 'er for years, back in the 23 channel days and at that time it was a pretty good service. When they came out with the 40 channel rigs and dumped thousands of 23 channel rigs on the market for $10 it went into the garbage can.

I chose to be come a ham at that time , taking my test at the FCC office in San Francisco. I was a two meter tech for 20 years and recently upgraded to general then extra. I have 8 years of experiance in electronics ( ECM) in the air force.

It was never the test, It was always the code holding me back. I am now having a ball and help others and give away equipment and sell stuff cheep to new hams and basically do what I can to make the hobby better. If you ani't part of the answer then you are part of the problem.

I may not always be 100% correct, but I try to help. Why don't you also try to make this place better rather than complain about it. Sorry for the venting but I am tired of cry babies saying its always some one elses fault. Teach a CB'r code and what do you know, he becomes a ham. See what I mean.. help out and quit with the constant critisim.

73 and good DX tom N6AJR
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N6AJR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
PS.. it looks like the original author is a real old timer, with a KG4 call licensed in 2002 hmmmmmm
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KG4OOA on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To Quote KC0QBV

"Sorry, but it likely is dieing. (1) the internet can do much if not all of what ham radio can do and do it better, fastre and cheaper (2) this is especially true for DX type uses (3) to the extent its not currently true, it will be soon."

If all this bull is true, why get a license? Why study at all. Just wait a few years, you'll have it on your wonderful internet. You don't need a license on the internet! You don't need to learn CW. Gee whiz!

There is NO way DX can be worked on the internet. Anyone who claims it is telling a barrel of lies! Working DX is using RADIO (not the internet)for the whole QSO all the way from point A to point B. DX is not getting on a computer and chatting with someone through a commercial server network. Nor is it shooting a signal a half mile to a transceiver and then into those commercial servers to another transceiver and shoot another quarter mile and then claim to have worked 10,000 miles on 5 watts!

If you like the internet so much go play on it with the rest of the preverts and children! We need quality not quanity!

As far as the hinternet I've heard about is just more ARRL bull. All ARRL is doing by promoting this and the dumbing down of ham radio is trying to assure there jobs through higher membership numbers. That bunch would be in real trouble if they had to get a real job.

If you think I have a fear of computers or anything like that, I worked on the first LAN and WAN. If you want info on it, ask and I will send you a link so you can learn. Computers are great in their place.

If you want to call me an elitist by all means do, thank you. Elite meanns the best. That's what I try to be, the best in all I do.

Ah has spoken! Annybody that don't like it -- tough!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC8PMM on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I guess this proves that in every group where there's volunteerism, there are always those who think they are better than the other volunteers and, therefore, need to complain about others' incompetence in order to prove it. This goes with PTA, Ham radio, Volunteer firemen, etc.

In defense of the poster, I do agree we should take the time to at LEAST learn how to operate our equipment if we decide to join ARES or Skywarn and participate in the nets.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KD7UKT on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ya know, a while back on "that other ham forum" I pointed out two of the many types of hams that are out there now...

There are the no-code Techs...

And then there are the no-life hams. These are the ones who sit around with the radio on 24/7 (one in my area even has one by his bed), and who constantly rant and rave about how the hobby is changing. But ask them to comment on the next round of test questions, or maybe Elmer a new ham, or even help put up an antenna, and suddenly they have no interest.

FACE FACTS, you no-life hams, things change. The amateur service you grew up with would have been unrecognizable during the age of "spark" (and how many of you NLH's know what "spark" even was?). I am sure that if there had been internet forums around in the first days of transistors, we would have heard moaning and whining about the death of tubes, and the inevitable death of ham radio as a result. Didn't happen, did it?

Consider this, if you can fit it in alongside your bitterness... regardless of why hams start in the hobby, good old human curiosity is going to inspire many of the new hams, perhaps even most of them, to investigate exactly how and why it works. That will, in time, lead to more knowledge about radio and electronics in general... IF they are not driven off the air by radio-rage against the new generation of hams!

Consider also how a prospective ham would view this article if read before the test. Would they say, "hey, this is a wonderful hobby, no matter where I want to fit in, I can find someone to do it with!" Or would they say, "oh, my, I am not going to be accepted until I pass my Doctorate in Electronic Engineering!"

Personally, I would rather talk to a no-code tech than a no-life ham any day, even if the tech doesn't understand how all those parts in his HT work.

--David, KD7UKT, General Class Operator and ARRL VE (and who is proud of helping to make ham radio better instead of complaining about how it is dying.)
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W3DCG on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Aw, C'mon, somebody just say it,

CW RULES!

REAL HAMS DO CW, or wish they could!

CW then, now, and For Ever.

ha.

Okay, I admit, I pluged a factory mic into the radio and use it on week-ends, and it's a blast too!

But it's all complicated, I feel naked without a scope to make sure I'm modulating perfectly- and feel like some bare-foot kid at church unless I can have that awsome IHY sound, on top of that.

I rather just go hide behind the curtain and make beeping noises that I can hear in between, so I know if someone's trying to break in, or if somebody's tuning up so I should stop momentarily so the other guy doesn't miss what I was saying...

Simple, but- I don't know that this can be done via other modes.

The dumbing down of Ham radio isn't half as bad, as the state of Public Schools in many places across the country. I'm talking about standards. I wouldn't care, but I feel like I pay a butt-load in taxes towards Public education every year, and that most teachers are just in it for the vacation every year, and every holiday known to man. I fully believe this is not always the case, but my sense is that teachers who are in it for the thrill of seeing the lights go on in the mind of a child or adolescent is definite minority.

Hey, it's just a hobby... you can tolerate CW, hate it, or love it, it doesn't really matter when you find an aspect of Ham radio that you seriously enjoy.

And I believe it would be INSANE to let CW go, to have NO CODE HF tickets.

Let the rest of the world be nuts, let the rest of the country be dumb, but I don't believe the countries known for their intelligence will drop their code requirements, even if the "world" does.

Say for example, uh...hmmmmm JAPAN for example. How does the rest of the world view their Public educational system? And the latest technical whiz-bang boxes in many MANY, MOST of our shacks that do everything fairly well plus toast sliced bread come from where... and as far as BPL, have they rejected it out of hand completely at this juncture? Are they going to drop CW requirements for HF access?

Hey, El Craft/Ten Tec QSK flat out RULES! But the QSK on a TS 850 comes close enough.

I wonder what the majority of hams in say, Germany feel about CW requirements.

Why does it matter, it really doesn't, it's just a Hobby, enjoy it, but let the Hobby of Ham radio retain it's respect and dignity. Dumb it down ABSOLUTELY no further.

There is plenty enough of that everywhere else in life.

 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N6AJR on June 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I am suprized that some one doesn't complain about folks just talking on the radio.... what a waste of good air time, can you imagine , just using the radio for communication, what a waste of >>> (insert your favorite frequency here)>>> ;0
 
No, it's not dying  
by AC0X on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To KC0QBV
From:
http://www.nemw.org/pop.htm (with some extrapolation)
http://www.ac6v.com/history.htm
http://www.ham-shack.com/history.html

1950: Hams, 90K, US POP 151M, Hams are .06 of 1%
1958: Hams, 160K, US POP 173M. Hams are .09 of 1%
1963: Hams, 200K, US POP 186M, Hams are .11 of 1%
1970: Hams, 250K, US POP 203M, Hams are .12 of 1%
1978: Hams, 350K, US POP 222M, Hams are .15 of 1%
1984: Hams, 410K, US POP 237M, Hams are .17 of 1%
Today, Hams, 690K, US POP 295M Hams are .23 of 1%

Now that I've gone thru the trouble for you to do this internet research at 1AM, you have to do the following:

1) Say "No, ham radio isn't dying and I'm sorry I said that"

and

2) Make sure you quote these numbers (or at least mention the trend) to anyone else who claims "ham radio is dying". Because it isn't true.
 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by VE6XX on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Greetings All: We certainly have a polarised issue here! Interesting & informed series of replies. There were, of course, the predictable vitriolic responses
from the very few who harbor suppressed anger with SOMETHING!
Some truly insightful synopses have been offered, & it was refreshing to read them. I was first licensed in 58 & have been continuously licensed & active since. As has been adroitly pointed out here, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Endless arguments about aspects of our hobby that are good only to foment acrimony. Surely enjoyment of the hobby is the central theme, & our availability as a public service our price of admission. I have talked to & met with hams the world over during the past 4 decades, & I have always considered ham radio as a humanitarian instrument first, & a technical hobby secondly. The great majority of us crave contact with our fellow man. Whether that contact takes the form of an in-depth technical discussion about the recombination of thermally generated hole-electron pairs across barrier depletion regions, Aunt Harriet's apple pie, or a nostalgic exploration of the personal memories of an OT
operating his station for a personal contact with his extended family...the ham radio community, is unimportant. No matter the mode of our communication, the intimate personal discourse is present. Over the years the wonder at the ability to converse with another person across town, across the country, or across the world , has never evaporated. The closest experience a non-ham will ever have,will be the airman, who experiences the thrill & wonder of flight each time he leaves the ground in his flying machine. Those of us who have experienced both are privileged indeed! I do not hold, nor do I covet an Airline Transport Pilot's License. I enjoy flying for the sheer pleasure it brings me. I wonder if our amateur ranks are not filled with people of different persuasions as well. I believe a great number of amateurs acquire a license that permits them the privilege of human contact at a distance, & that the "romance" of "wireless" personal communication is the magic elixer for them. The type "A" personalities have their contests & DX, & those of a technical bent have others of their ilk with whom they may discuss technical esoterica. Others are content to revel in the magic of communication with a family member, a friend, or a stranger, somewhere, someplace. Is any one of these lesser or greater than the others? Surely the "magic" of amateur radio is
the solidifying agent, & the "raison d'etre".
One man's opinion.
CHEERS! Brian, VE6XX
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KG4OCV on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KG4OOA said
"There is NO way DX can be worked on the internet. Anyone who claims it is telling a barrel of lies! Working DX is using RADIO (not the internet)for the whole QSO all the way from point A to point B. DX is not getting on a computer and chatting with someone through a commercial server network. Nor is it shooting a signal a half mile to a transceiver and then into those commercial servers to another transceiver and shoot another quarter mile and then claim to have worked 10,000 miles on 5 watts! "

I agree with this. Services like Echolink may be fun for some folks, but in my mind, it just isn't radio!

Jeff
 
What is a Hobby?  
by RADIO123US on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
AC0X, thank you for taking the time to research the statistics. This confirms what I already knew was correct...ham radio is NOT dying. It's funny how the majority of people that are trying to make us believe that the hobby is dying are those that are trying to further erode the standards that we currently have.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KY6R on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Kids these days!

Last summer I taught a class to 3 kids and all three passed their tests and have been on the air. I taught a code class and the kids loved it. At least one will go for his General this summer.

I earned my Novice in 1973 and then stepped up to Extra over the years, and had to take my General class test in front of the FCC - which was scary at age 15. For my Extra class, I had to pass the 20 WPM code test. I'm proud of these accomplishments but have no problem with the current state of testing - I think its much better than having to go to the FCC to take tests. There are sooooooo many more alternatives to ham radio - its not easy to get kids interested these days.

Rather than bitch about "kids these days" I suggest that more hams try to elmer and TEACH kids (of any age) about the fun and joys of ham radio. Just seeing that excitement in a new hams eyes is worth the effort!
Have patience and remember that when you started you were very lucky to have kind elmers that didn't crab at you. You will learn as much from the kids you teach as they will from you.

And NEVER take a hobby so serious that you become crabby and crotchety.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N7NBB on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
First off, if I am re-inventing the wheel, here (mirroring previous posts) please excuse...

I can't help but shake my head in disgust about those who complain about the know-nothings coming into our hobby. (here's why)

I would venture a guess that most of the newbie hams came to the hobby through some type of class instruction... granted there is that group that does it on their own, but the MAJORITY of new hams attended some type of instruction to get here. I KNOW for a fact they ALL attended a V.E. testing session of one form or another, where their NAMES, ADDRESSES, and other contact data were recorded.

SO, doesn't that mean that it is OUR fault if they know nothing ? It is NOT the fault of the (simple) tests or those that designed them. It is not the fault of the newbie individuals... THEY have shown the initial interest... We have NO one to blame but ourselves if the "tiny spark" (shown by the initial interest) is not nurtured to a full blown FIRED-UP flame of passion for the hobby.

In our area I Co-instruct technician classes three times a year and general upgrade classes twice a year. Our classes are not the fast paced: "lets see how many amateurs we can turn out in a intensive four hour class by just watching a video." It seems there are always articles in any amateur related publication / web that BRAG about 35 students took a four hour class then tested right after... THAT's the problem !!

In our class, we *physically* have the students put a piece of romex to a standard house outlet, solder PL-259s, use SWR meters, physically TOUCH and play with lots of other "standards" of the hobby. We have (pre-arranged) drop-in visitors from our organization who all have a different niche. The each have a hour or so to do a HANDS ON demo of Morse Code, PSK-31, APRS, Fox-hunting, etc. Most of the student's kindling is "sparked" by one or more facets, and the "causal" interest becomes a lust for knowldege... we, as instructors, can SEE it happening right before our eyes... you can "feel" it. It is REAL. All we have to do is follow it up.

After the test it is OUR responsibity to "follow-up" with elemering the newbie along... no matter what the item, ALL good salesmen/women have a "follow-up" file, and they do regular calls to help make the sale. Such should be Amateur Radio.. if one TRULY wants to "SELL" Amateur Radio, then they must "follow-up", nurture, guide, and yes, CORRECT bad habits too. THAT is the way to build a pile of know-nothings into an asset of the hobby.

We are thinking of offering a "class after the class" where TIME will allow us to assit them as they (at their expense) build a copper pipe J-Pole,Wire Dipole, discuss and evaluate various features of radios and accessories, make the "first contact"
CORRECTLY install a mobile radio (no cigeratte lighter plugs) Mount and route an antenna, and much much more "hand-holding" to get them started... CORRECTLY !

Yes if anything is KILLING the hobby it is the nay-sayers who bemoan the know-nothing newbies, or complain about the dumming of the hobby, yet make no attempt to steer the newbie in the right direction.

73
CAM - N7NBB
 
What is a Hobby?  
by CASPER669 on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To: VE6XX

Despite the fact that everyone in this forum has submitted criticism (whether good, bad, to the point or off the point), I enjoyed seeing the difference of opinions and how we can all continue to sit and talk about that which we hold dear - as a community.

I must say that yours is one of the few which I could only agree with as I read it. It covered the point of the article with intellect and wisdom. Something which I hope is attainable by all in our community.

I just wanted to share with you my complete agreement with your opinion and I hope to catch you or anyone here on the air one of these days!

73 and God bless!

Chris KC2KFW
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC8WCW on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
When will you little Technicians get it? It doesn't matter what you do. The reality you see, is that regardless of your prior experience, enthusiasm to learn anything beyond the basic requirements, talent, education, etc,,, you will NEVER be to the level of these impecably talented, "more experienced" Hams!

When you finally grow up and forget about your family, church, community, and career, and learn to concentrate on important things like installing thousands of dollars worth of radio gear, so you can sit on your butt 24/7 and talk about important issues like radios, you can't possibly understand!

KC8WCW
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KA4KOE on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hobbies are constructive enjoyable activities that are a lot better than watching TV. However, any hobby is not good when you-

1. Forget to bathe for extended periods of time and have your own retinue of blue bottle flies following you wherever you go.

2. Your wife and children don't know who you are.

3. You buy hobby equipment on credit in lieu of utility bills, mortgage payments, food, etc.

Keep it in perspective. Keep your sanity. Keep your family.

Philip

"Be fleet of foot and staunch of courage!"
-Sargon

 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC8WCW on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You said it Philip!
 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by KC0QBV on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"No, it's not dying Reply
by AC0X on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To KC0QBV
From:
http://www.nemw.org/pop.htm (with some extrapolation)
http://www.ac6v.com/history.htm
http://www.ham-shack.com/history.html

. . .
1978: Hams, 350K, US POP 222M, Hams are .15 of 1%
1984: Hams, 410K, US POP 237M, Hams are .17 of 1%
Today, Hams, 690K, US POP 295M Hams are .23 of 1%

Now that I've gone thru the trouble for you to do this internet research at 1AM, you have to do the following:

1) Say "No, ham radio isn't dying and I'm sorry I said that"

and

2) Make sure you quote these numbers (or at least mention the trend) to anyone else who claims "ham radio is dying". Because it isn't true."

A. Look behind your sources. See, e.g., http://www.speroni.com/FCC/Rate.html, which states,

"To try to get a handle on the actual growth rate, we took the entire FCC database and computed the average time to expiration for all classes of unexpired licenses. If the number of new amateurs being added every month (through renewal, upgrade, or as new amateurs) were equal to those expiring, the average time to expiration should remain the same. Assuming that the distribution of the times to expiration was constant over the future 120 months, the expected value would be 60 months.

A number less than 60 months would mean that the class of licensees is decreasing. Looking at the Chart 1. you can see this is the case for Novice, Technician, and Technician Plus licensees.

In Oct 2000, the average life of licenses for the entire Amateur population will drop below 60 months. Within a year the number of U.S. Amateurs will begin to decline."

and

http://www.speroni.com/FCC/Information.html, which states, "The FCC data base includes records for licenses that have expired, but are still within their two year "grace period". Historically FCC statistics have been published including all 12 years of records, thus showing more active amateurs than really existed."


B. I don't HAVE to do anything simply because you wish me to do so.

C. I was offering a hypothetical, which you still haven't refuted.

D. If the number of illegal immigrants in the country were included in US population totals (and I don't believe they are in the numbers you use), your "gains" would be significantly reduced.

E. a fluctuation of 0.1% over 40 years hardly seems to be something to brag about. I am not even sure its statistically significant. I will let some stats guru comment on this aspect.

F. I didn't ask you to do anything, let alone at 0100hh. I applaud your effort and I acknowledge you make some good arguemtnts, even if you are a bit snippy. However, I don't believe your evidence necessarily supports your proposition.

G. Understand, I hopy you are correct. I would like to be wrong on this issue. But hope and reality don't always match up. Ignoring reality and living in a world of hope or wish-it-was leads to an increased possability that you will be the grasshopper, not the ant.

-derek
 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by AC0X on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"In Oct 2000, the average life of licenses for the entire Amateur population will drop below 60 months. Within a year the number of U.S. Amateurs will begin to decline."

Yeah, I read that, too. But the fact is, it's been 2 and 1/2 years since that "average life" problem, and the number of hams has not declined. So it seems that Mr. Speroni's conclusion was not correct. I also remember (like everyone else) how the number of hams would drop off in the early 00's as the no-code techs from the early 90's began to have their licenses expire. That hasn't happened either, and that's because HAM RADIO IS STILL GROWING, not dying.

"If the number of illegal immigrants in the country were included in US population totals (and I don't believe they are in the numbers you use), your "gains" would be significantly reduced."

From: http://www.fairus.org/html/04183108.htm, the number of illegal aliens is about 8M. So that means that the percentage of hams vs US population is 690K/303M, or about .227 of 1% of the population. Not much of a difference. And anyway, if we include illegal aliens in the US pop totals, maybe I should include "free-banders" in the ham totals (which I would rather not do).

" fluctuation of 0.1% over 40 years hardly seems to be something to brag about. I am not even sure its statistically significant. I will let some stats guru comment on this aspect. "

A fluctuation of the TOTAL hams of .1% would be nothing to brag about, but what we're talking about is a .1% growth in the total percentage of hams in the total population. Total growth of the ham population itself is closer to 900%, which means a AVERAGE YEARLY COMPOUNDED GROWTH of 4 to 5% over that 40+ years. You have to call that at least respectable.

"I didn't ask you to do anything, let alone at 0100hh. I applaud your effort and I acknowledge you make some good arguemtnts, even if you are a bit snippy. However, I don't believe your evidence necessarily supports your proposition."

I believe my evidence does support my position. And my apologies for my 0100 CDT snippiness, please attribute it to a temporary bout with insomnia ;-)

73 de AC0X
 
What is a Hobby?  
by NI0C on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Why do some hams insist on constructing and using yardsticks to judge who is worthy of a ham license, when the requirements have already been set forth in FCC regulations? Why can't we all agree that none of us knows everything there is to know about the hobby, and that we can all learn from each other? That XYL with the bad audio might not know the brand of her radio and antenna, but if you cared to listen long enough, I've no doubt there are things she knows that you don't. If you started with respect for her as a human being and fellow amateur, perhaps you would have the patience to help out with the audio problem. It is a shame that new hams often find themselves running a gauntlet and being hazed by judgemental cranks (who perhaps were themselves abused when they started out in the hobby).
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W9SZ on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
See:

http://kh2d.net/opinions/article.cfm?id=4

:-)
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by CURMUDGEON on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KD7UKT- You've not been around long enough to be attempting to lecture anyone.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KD7UKT on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Curmudgeon:

At least I post my call sign out there for everyone to see and check up on. I don't even know if you are licensed. So that is all the reply you rate, in my book... as far as I know, you could be a CB/Freebander troll!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"KG4OOA said
"There is NO way DX can be worked on the internet. Anyone who claims it is telling a barrel of lies! Working DX is using RADIO (not the internet)for the whole QSO all the way from point A to point B. DX is not getting on a computer and chatting with someone through a commercial server network. Nor is it shooting a signal a half mile to a transceiver and then into those commercial servers to another transceiver and shoot another quarter mile and then claim to have worked 10,000 miles on 5 watts! "

I agree with this. Services like Echolink may be fun for some folks, but in my mind, it just isn't radio!"

You are missing the point. Saying that 'There is NO way DX can be worked on the internet' is like saying 'Champagne can only come from France'. True. But if the end goal is to have a nice sparkling white wine, you don't have to buy something from France. You are arguing that the internet isn't the same as DX. This is true. The "means" are different, but the end result, communicating with those afar, can be largely the same. Obvioulsy, if your main purpose in DXing is to enjoy the challenge of making the contact, the internet doesn't replace your ham rig. If the purpose is mainly to communicate with those arround the world, the internet probably accomplishes this goal far more easily, with greater reliability and with a lower required initial outlay of cash. Furthermore, I suspect the internet will allow you to reach far more people.

My argument is analogous to the statement, "Cars are a better source of transportation than horses". Your response criticizes cars simply because they are not horses, instead of refuting the proposition that most of the time, you can get more places, faster with a car than with a horse.

-daw
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KC0QBV on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To All:

I think we have beat this dead horse to a pulp (and I recognize that this is probably mostly my fault). I enjoyed the friendly debate with those that offered
well reasoned responses. Any further, I suspect we just have to agree to disagree.

Unless someone specifically requests I defend or explain any of my positions, I won't post anything further on this thread (unless I just can't resist).

-daw
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N5ACM on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Actually curmudgeon, KD7UKT's previous comments on the topic NAILED IT. Obviously, wisdom transcends how long one has been a licensed amateur.

Operation on HF is not confined to the amateur radio bands.

N5ACM
 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by AC0X on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"but what we're talking about is a .1% growth in the total percentage of hams in the total population"

Ooops... the difference between .13 of 1% (early 70's) and .23 of 1% is NOT just a ".1% growth in the total percentage of hams in total population. The growth itself would be a 75% growth of the total number of hams as a percentage of total population ;-) ;-)

Anyway...

My point is that ham radio is not dying. Yes, it's changing. And yes, we do need to keep it strong so it continues to grow (new hams AREN'T mostly brain dead newbies who got their licenses just because it's "so easy", despite what KH2D thinks). But, we have to realize that our efforts to keep it growing ARE working, so we need to keep doing that.
 
RE: Brain dead?  
by KC0ODY on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"Brain-dead newbies"? Methinks that KH2D has some ongoing issues with the people he's attempting to make fun of... when you get to this point, it's time to find a new hobby.

 
RE: Brain dead?  
by N3IJW on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Actually if you would read KH2Ds article, it's pretty damn funny and nobody is spared. Well, it's funny to me anyway, but then again I am a jerk (or maybe a weirdo? or a freak..hmm)
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by CURMUDGEON on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My call isn't anymore your business than Benjamin Franklin's name was when he signed "poor Richard."
 
RE: Brain dead?  
by KC0ODY on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I did read the article, and several others on his website. I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, but the author's simmering crankiness and complaining about the forthcoming death of ham radio often overshadows his attempts at humor.

I think AA0MZ's website, "Last Two International", is much funnier: http://www.qsl.net/aa0mz/lti.htm, perhaps because the author doesn't drone on and on about how ham radio is dying. I especially liked the "Pissed Off All States" award. <LOL>
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4UXW on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hi, I have something to add. I got my Tech license on Labor Day 2002, and just now got my Extra license hanging on the wall. I do a lot of PSK31 on 20-meters. I'm trying to resurrect the corpse of AMPRnet in my area on 9600bps packet too.

I got into the hobby at age 25 with no particular guidance or purpose. I'm a computer programmer who fancies himself to be a bit of a mad-scientist-of-all-trades. I've written video games and operated Internet providers, and when I realized there was great fun to be had by progressing through the Amateur Radio license classes, great, I did that too. After I passed Extra, I started building kits because the study materials didn't quite tell me everything I needed to know to build my own rigs quite yet, but I am trying (and maybe someday I'll come out of my Yaecomwood shell). A lot of you, I hope, are a lot smarter than me, license classes notwithstanding. On the other hand, if you want me to help you, that's great too. I do this for love of science, and I hold a license that allows me to carry out some very fun experiments. But when I'm not actively experimenting, I am not above having a chat with the Good Ole Boys on 2-meters either (The FCC appears to have come to terms with Communicator-hams when I was learning to walk. It suits me if it suits them..).

This hobby still is attracting classical nerds like myself, and I hope it continues to do so. And if you know a lot more than me, please don't mind if I ask you a few polite questions on the air sometime. The only stupid people are the ones who don't listen.

-Chris
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
From what I hear on 2 meters and the HF bands this clubs roster is going to overflow very soon.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K0RGR on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There are definitely people out there who don't know much about their equipment, and I'm more than a lot shocked when it turns out to be an Extra Class. But the current Tech license is our entry license. I sure didn't know a great deal I was a Novice. These Tech's have to know a lot more than the Novices because they have much greater - and more dangerous - priveleges. But learning is a journey, and the Tech license is just the first step - cut the newbies some slack - they will learn over time.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KU4QD on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, puh-leeze! Well, you may achieve your goal of keeping newcomers who don't know everything on day one out. OTs putting down newcomers helps make ham radio very unwelcoming. Go to your local ham club. How many young people do you see? How many women? Attitudes like the author's keep people out. He, and all of you who agree with him, are working very hard to see that ham radio dies out with your generation. It's truly disgusting.

Someone doesn't know much when they get their license? How about encouraging them instead of putting them down? Did you ever hear of elmering? How about talking to them, finding out what THEIR interests are, and seeing how ham radio ties in? Those are constructive ways to solve the legitimate problem described in the midst of you diatribe.

Oh, and by definition, ham radio is a SERVICE, not a hobby. The sole remaining justification for our bands is our ability to assist in emergency communications. You know what: that woman you describe with the bad audio can get her radio fixed without learning about it. She can make a very worthwhile contribution to her community and to the amateur radio service by being encouraged to 1) solve the audio problem, and 2) become involved in emergency communications. She sure doesn't have to learn CW to be an asset.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but the bands aren't clogged. Neither are repeaters. A few 2m repeaters are very active in most major metro areas, but the rest languish with little use. 1.35m (222 MHz), 70cm (440 MHz), and 23 cm (1270 MHz) repeaters are almost unpopulated in most parts of the country. We need more hams, younger hams, not fewer.

I agree with one point the author makes: we don't need to reduce license requirements any further. The current license exams are a good filter to kepe out those with no real interest and nothing to add to the hobby.

You know what? I was licensed almost 20 years ago. I assure you that when I first got on the air in the "good 'ol days" of higer CW requirements and tougher technical tests I knew very little about anything and made plenty of mistakes. Guess what? I learned. However, I learned what interested ME, not necessarily what interested the author. I had good people encourage me and I did develop a wider interest in the hobby. Without those elmers I would likely be the sort of YL someone described who just chats with her boyfriend. I likely would have dropped ham radio years ago. I am still here, no thanks to people like the author of this article.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
oh please who sez the sole remaining purpose of the ham radio hobby is service?????. Read part 97 and find out, I don't have mine right in front of me but the following come to mind
1. something about expermenting and improving the radio communications art.
2. something about the amateur unique abilities to enhance international goodwill.
And I know there are a few others listed there. You guys/gals that think public services roll out the welcome mats to hams during a emergency are living in a dream world, lately sad but true hams are among the very last as read bottom of the list to be called in.
You know its very easy to pin the blame on the old timers but my experience with the newbies shows that 8 out of 10 of them come to a club meeting with a chip on their shoulder. Listen you poor ole battered newbies in another 10 years or so ham licenses will be issued via simply signing your name or X on a dotted line, then you guys/gals will become the elite force of radio. Ah yeah the more things change the more they stay the same.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The word service as used in Maritime radio service, Citizens radio service,Family radio service etc etc does not mean as a commnuity service but as defined to "serve" the individuals licensed in these groups.
Ham radio is to be performed with anything taken into your back pocket... hobby something done in one's free time no money taken in. Ham radio = HOBBY
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by DOODAH on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KU4QD : "ham radio is a SERVICE, not a hobby"

not the way you see it, I'm afraid. The ITU define all users of the radio spectrum as SERVICES, i.e. the BROADCASTING SERVICE, LAND MOBILE SERVICE, AERONAUTICAL SERVICE, RADIOASTRONOMY SERVICE etc.

The service is in the opposite direction - it is us amateurs getting the service.

btw : your USA definitions are not the same as in other countries. Check the ITU definition - that's the main one.

73
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W5HTW on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"Oh, puh-leeze! Well, you may achieve your goal of keeping newcomers who don't know everything on day one out."

"Someone doesn't know much when they get their license?"

We all started there. I came into ham radio listening to a guy tell me about his transmitter "the plates were glowing" and I envisioned a dinner plate. Really.

But Extra Class ( that's the "expert" class) hams who don't know how to tell if a coil is open or shorted, using an ohmmeter? Extra Class hams who can't hook up a VOM to read voltage? Extra Class (yes, the experts) who can't figure out the band edges of the HF bands? Extra Class hams (experts) who don't know how to tune in a sideband signal? Extra class experts who have no idea what dual conversion is, or why a power microphone is a bad idea on a HF rig with a compressor? These are not the "day one" guys. These are the so-called experts, who were supposed to, according to their license, have actually learned something about radio.


"Oh, and by definition, ham radio is a SERVICE, not a hobby." So is the Citizen's Radio Service, the Broadcast Radio Service, the Marine Radio Service, the Public Safety Radio Service. The FCC calls the entities it serves, a "service." Only around, (I have forgotten the figures released by the ARRL) 1700-2000 hams get involved in so-called public service. That's on a percentage of 650,000? Well, if we're depending upon being a service, "we ain't earning our keep!" We are a "service" only by FCC definition of the word. We may once in a while be able to actually perform a real community service, but then so do the CBers and people with cell phones, also "services."


"I agree with one point the author makes: we don't need to reduce license requirements any further. The current license exams are a good filter to kepe out those with no real interest and nothing to add to the hobby."

But that's what we said in 1991 when the Code Free Tech was being introduced. That's what we said in 1999 when the new Restructuring was being introduced. In other words, "I'm here now, so close the gate." NOW let's keep out the riffraff. Soon license requirements WILL be reduced again, and once again those with licenses now will be complaining, and those who get licenses after the next evolution will be saying "NOW let's close the gates."



"You know what? I was licensed almost 20 years ago. I assure you that when I first got on the air in the "good 'ol days" of higer CW requirements and tougher technical tests I knew very little about anything and made plenty of mistakes. Guess what? I learned."

Which is the point. To learn. Read "Extra class hams" above. You were not supposed to know how to design and build a phasing SSB exciter on day one. You were not supposed to know correct procedures on the air. But you were expected to learn, to contribute, and apparently you did. Why not expect the same thing of the newcomers today; to learn, to contribute?

"I had good people encourage me and I did develop a wider interest in the hobby. Without those elmers I would likely be the sort of YL someone described who just chats with her boyfriend."

Or spouse - hubby, wife, kids. The cell phone crowd that really doesn't contribute anything to ham radio except body count.

And body count? "Licenses" doesn't mean active, or even interested. It is likely a fairly large percentage of Techs get their licenses thinking they will have the dream of ham radio, but instead they find themselves relegated to VHF CB. Just like the CB from whence they came, but with even more restrictions and rules. So they lose interest and drop out. But it takes ten years for the license to expire, and in eight of those years the holder has forgotten he had a license, or what his call sign was. But he is still in the body count.

So is the cell phone/2-meter bunch. "Hams" they are not. Utility users of ham radio they are. They run up the body count, of course. And the ARRL sits back and says "Look, Mommy, I made more hams." Valueless.

Sure, welcome the newcomers. But let's have them work for it. Throw out the silver platters and give them training wheels instead. That's what the Novice ticket did, when it was one year non-renewable. Sink or swim, and that's how it should be.

Now the WRC2003 is in session. As the puppy with his tail on the railroad tracks said, "it won't be long now."

73
ed
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W3DCG on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There's a $10,000,000 but it'll probably end up being $11,000,000 elementary school almost completed (they are behind schedule) literally next door to my house. My daughter will be attending this Fall, she will be entering 1st grade. She reads at a 3rd grade level.

The majority of the 600 plus odd students do not live within 2 miles of the school's location. Scores indicate, that the vast majority of these children in 2nd grade probably cannot read at the most rudimentary level.

Nevertheless we have hopes to improve those scores. Although, from the last pre-PTA meeting, it is certain that most parents of this schools children, have no concept of grammar, much less proper grammar.

I like to have dreams of fostering some potential hams next door.

However, I have the realistic expectation, that instead of working on getting a station put in there, I'll instead, be working several hours a week on teaching 2nd graders how to write their names.

Yep, who needs standards- we should lower all standards. Bring back free-lunch.
 
Battered old newbie?  
by KC0ODY on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W8OB said:

"Listen you poor ole battered newbies in another 10 years or so ham licenses will be issued via simply signing your name or X on a dotted line, then you guys/gals will become the elite force of radio."

Hmm, as far as this newbie can recollect on the hobby (that would be about 6.5 months) I can honestly say that I had nothing whatsoever to do with licensing requirements to get into the hobby... did what was required, and will continue to do more ON MY OWN to advance my knowledge.

I don't know who the "elite force in radio" is, frankly, nor do I care what makes them "elite". But that is okay, because I'm not aspiring to any titles; I'm only aspiring to advance my knowledge of things RF, and have some fun before I eventually leave this planet. Just as I'm trying to do with my other main hobby, just have some fun.

The AR license requirements aren't difficult for most of us. The license is, however, only a starting point. A license to learn, if you will. The newbies have no control over the entry requirements, no matter how much some hams may bemoan the degree to which they have sunk. No control.

Work with us newbies, and teach those who want to learn. The ones who have a chip on their shoulder, well, all I can say about them is they will either learn to respect those who know more than they do, or they'll find another hobby. Or they will learn on their own, if they are resourceful enough. That's all.

 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4WKR on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, as usual, the original comments posted here have been distorted. Some replies attribute other posters' remarks to the original text. I also must add that supportive comments have been e-mailed to me, since many are afraid to post their opinions here due to the inflamed, knee-jerk reactions usually generated. That article was fired off after a particularly bad radio day. My only point is that the hobby of amateur radio is about RADIO. I am happy to "Elmer" anyone with any INTEREST in radio, with or without code. I am a General class myself, newly re-licensed after being away from the hobby for many years. Rude, obnoxious DXers back in the good old days, running too much power on crowded bands drove me to lose interest, since DX was my primary endeavor. That aspect seems to have actually improved. I came back because my interest was revived. I rarely use CW myself, and don't consider no-codes to be lesser hams than anyone else. I know some no-code Techs who are just where they want to be, vigorously pursuing all that their license privileges have to offer because they love amateur radio. I just can't understand why people with NO interest in radio choose this hobby, when CB and Internet chat rooms already exist for communication. I don't think every radio discussion should be technical by any means. I do think, however, if one is informed that they have really bad audio they might be interested enough in their radio to investigate it, or at least know its brand. Someone who drives a car is not an automobile hobbyist - someone who tinkers with cars on weekends is. Someone who listens to music is not an audiophile - someone who tweaks his sound system for frequency response, etc., is. Throwing together some grub every night because you have to eat is not a hobby in the culinary arts. I'm just saying that if one doesn't want to know anything about amateur radio, then why choose that as their "hobby." There are many facets of the radio hobby, with more being added all the time. Everyone has their own sub-interest, but the common interest in the hobby of amateur radio still should be radio. The FCC has deemed fit to lower license requirements. So be it. I still say, if your interest is amateur radio, you will be eager to meet those, or any other requirements in order to participate. If, however, your main interest is simply communicating with others then these requirements are simply an impediment rather than an interesting challenge. You don't need a ham radio to communicate. If you love the hobby of ham radio, you have the bonus of communication thrown in! I hope the personal attacks made some of you feel better. Vigorous defense of ignorance and sloth have become politically correct. I've indicted no one here. If you are a new ham, congratulations! No-code Tech? Fine! If you're here on this website you must have some interest in radio because you at least read the articles. It's the people you don't see here, or any other amateur radio enthusiasts' gathering, that irritate me. You'll only run into them at Radio Shack or eBay. Or some repeaters. Maybe my locale just has more that its share of them. Remember, my basic premise is simply that some interest in radio communications, not extensive technical knowledge or Morse code, is the basic requirement to be considered a radio hobbyist.
 
Keep learning. That's it.  
by JJ1BDX on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
If a ham radio hobbist wants to show his "excellence" in engineering, science and social skills, he or she must prove it by him/herself. And I doubt how many OTs and OMs as well as younger hams do this.

The top-notch RF engineering has now been over GHz and most of the production ICs have been changed from DIPs to SOPs (though I still use DIPs for homebrewing because my soldering skill is not well enough). And radio gears are getting more digital and software-defined. RS-232C is good, but you need to learn USB as well, for better homebrewing.

I respect old technologies, but refusing to learn new ones would do nothing good for you. For example, SOP parts contribute much to reduce unwanted RF coupling and making the rigs more stable. You do not have to beat the new generation people, but making your perspective wider is always a better attitude to have.

I see 1/7 of FCC ham radio licensees (including myself) are Extra. This is much better than Japan where only less than 5% of total operator licensees want to get further than the 4th-class license (which is no-code, and *allows* HF, but max 10W output), because the statistics suggests that ham people in the US actually want to get better.

I should say, however, that there are bunch of the so-called 1st-class licensee in Japan who can't go further than 12WPM of code (which is actually useless on meaningful HF CW conversation), know nothing about Internet (which is annoying enough when most of DXing information exchange have already migrated to Internet), or simply refuse to work with people who don't speak Japanese (even on CW). Those who whine that lesser-privilege licensees do not work hard enough can risk themselves to fall into the trap of being like these so-called 1st-class licensees; a stinking garbage of the past generation.

On eham.net, some always claim the evil of the Instant Gratification. I think, however, the Instrant-gratification tendency has already creeped into the people of all generations, not only the younger ones (I am 38, born in 1965, BTW). It's a social change, if not generational.

I think it's not the license you have achieved (though obviously you need to have a proper privilege to operate legally), but how you keep learning and elmering. It's a hobby so there's little have-tos, but I believe that enjoying a hobby means an eternal self-learning.

73 de Joe JJ1BDX/3 es K1BDX




 
RE: Keep learning. That's it.  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, your basic assumption, "my basic premise is simply that some interest in radio communications, not extensive technical knowledge or Morse code, is the basic requirement to be considered a radio hobbyist" may be either correct, or faulted (incorrect).

With so many hams not meeting your approval, maybe your basic premise, about what makes a "hobbyist", is lacking, vrs all the hams you don't approve of "lacking".

Have FUN
Bob
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KC0KJF on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
HUH ! I live in an area with at least 30 reachable repeaters, and in a weeks time I do not here maybe 10 or 15 conversations at the most. What congestion ???
I am no code tech. and am doing my damdest to learn the code , i have a hearing problem but thats my problem. I have taken the General and Extra written on the internet and passed both. I guess what I'm trying to say the more i hear like you and some of the ones i monitor on 40 and 75 meters, there disrespect for others and immediately attacking anyone they percieve to be code lite , makes me wonder if its worth it.
If your so old and set in your ways then thats your problem not mine change is progress and you either go along with or get ground under. Hey ill do the 5 words a min eventually and will use the new priviledges at least once if nothing else to raise your blood pressure a couple a notches.
I dont set the rules for licensing I just follow the rules.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KX8N on June 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Isn't it funny how almost every article anymore deteriorates into the same pile of garbage?
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KG4WKR on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Gosh, this is interesting! I think many people replying to my original and subsequent post haven't actually read either, but base their comments on the responses instead. You should argue points that were actually made, not made up. If your hobby is sailing, it's because you love boats and want to know about them and use them to the best of your ability, not just get from point A to point B. Ditto for radio. It's such a simple observation: a hobbyist has an abiding interest in his hobby. If one's only interest is in talking, then their hobby is "conversation" and not radio. I don't care if anybody ever learns code or upgrades his license. I have great respect for some no code Techs who know much more about radio than I do. A lower class license is no indicator of knowledge or passion for the hobby. Behavior and on-air practices are what counts, and many licensed hams belong on 11 meters. The use of foul language on air and not identifying at all during a transmission is both bad practice and illegal. If they know better, they just don't care. Some people don't belong on the amateur bands, and that number is growing due to relaxed requirements. Doesn't that bother anyone? Are you afraid to sound old fashioned and crotchety by expecting decent intelligent behavior among our ranks? I'm lamenting the fact that a new breed of hams is degrading our amateur community. I am not setting standards for others to achieve, those standards have always been there. I just hate to lose what good standing we have left. Ready for the next personal attack . . .
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by K0LTD on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC8WCW wrote"do I subscribe to that site's(NO CODE.ORG) suggestion that code should be removed from the Amateur Service? Reread that site. They do not want to remove code from amateur radio,just as a req. for hf priveledges, As for the TECH. req for all prev. why not have tests for APRS/Slow and fsat scan tv/pactor and the lists goes on......it is a hobby!!!!!I just passed my GENERAL and the code. but, have no plans to use code.For those who say we should not RAG CHEW, but talk tech stuff only. O.K. how about the computer and how it works and building one as it is a part of amateur radio as we have a bunch of programs that go along with it and of course lets learn to write computer code so we all know how to do that. It"s just a HOBBY and each of us have different levels of interest in that.
73 KC0LTD/AG
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KD7UKT on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"Actually curmudgeon, KD7UKT's previous comments on the topic NAILED IT. Obviously, wisdom transcends how long one has been a licensed amateur."

Thanks, OM. Methinks I hit the a bit too close to home for Mr. Curmudgeon. One wonders if he even HAS a license, and if he was ever licensed in the past.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KE4PJW on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris, would you be suprised to find out that the old novice exam was much easier than the Tech exam you took? When I say much easier, I am talking about a 16 page study guide in the mid 60's. If you get a chance, go look at some of the old study guides from 30-40 years ago. I think you might be suprised at how easy the questions are. Heck, I don't even recall seeing any differential calculus in the Advanced or Extra study guides, but I could have missed them.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W9JCM on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I totally agree!! The usual but true saying dumbing down of the hobby. I only have been at it for close to 6 years but am from the old school of thinking. Earning things not getting that FREE RIDE. Thats all they want these days. The easy way out or in. I was probablly one of the last to get the 13wpm general test. And pass it. I display my CSCE in a frame on the wall to show I did my 13wpm. And dam proud of it. Some told me ahh why dont you wait till it turns to 5wpm it will be a breeze then. NOT. I work for what I have and then can be truely proud of my lisc. Those out there know who you are. I now hear people whining about the 5wpm code and how hard the written are. I say make them harder!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K0EWS on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Regarding your 3rd post, Chris, I read and re-read your original and subsequent post. I cannot speak for anyone else, but to me, it sounded like you were generalizing a bit. Matter of fact, I refered to it as a troll. Once I read it, I figured this is the response that you would get. It created quite a stir on this site, but most things do. Anyway, I see what you are saying, and I don't have a problem with it other than maybe how it was said.
I myself was a "newer" licensee, getting my first ticket in 2000. However, I grew up around ham radio, and fully realize that it's a very vast hobby/service, and there really is no limit to what there is to learn. As a professional educator, this was a hobby that appealed to me. I always had the interest as a kid, watching my Dad and Brother, but it took me until age 34 to have the time and resources to do it. Anyway, since my ticket, I've advanced all the way to extra class, have gotten my code speed up to right around 30 wpm (using a bug, no less), and lately have been into learning to build equipment. I've discovered digital modes, qrp, contesting, and even like to talk on the repeaters in the area about anything that comes up. Not every new licensee is a whining free-loader who wants HF cell phone service. It's probably what got to me. I view ham radio as a seemingly never ending journey where I've learned a lot, and have so much more to do. For an educator, who likes to fill the mind, rather than sit glued to the tube at night, it's the hobby of choice for me. At any rate, if my post seemed like a personal attack, I'm sorry. It probably was due to the fact that I am a newer ham, and I see them sometimes get generalized into a group of welfare wannabees, which they simply are not. Most of your points do have merit, and I feel you did a good job of explaining yourself in your second and third posts. Thanks for bringing the issue to light, and 73. Perhaps one day we'll cross paths on the air. Looking forward to the chat. 73
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W8JI on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I suggest those who want to learn spend less time complaining about those who don't, since learning is always more fun than arguing if you are an emotionally stable and mature person.

Those here who claim to have great pleasure in friendly chatting, need to do that instead of arguing. Friendly chatting is always a sign of maturity.

Those who love to argue and complain can stay right here and have fun. This is an ideal thread for that, since being old, new, an extra, or a tech has nothing to do with any requirement other than time and ability to memorize a simple test!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by K8CXM on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Careful here, prior to KG4WKR Chris was WA8JMN and WB8SSI, both General license dating back to the late 60's. He let both lapse due to lack of interest (kids!). This is his third license, and he KNOWS it was a much easier license to obtain than either of the first two.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KE0SM on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There is a REASON technical knowledge is required to be a Ham.

Why should every ham should know that injecting a pure audio tone into an SSB transmitter is spectrally equivalent to CW? Understand emission designators, the rules for RF exposure?

A CBer cannot legally build or modify his own radio. A ham can. Do you new hams realize the implications of this?

Ham radio is the ONLY service where you are LEGALLY allowed to tear apart a TV, string together the resulting parts, and TRANSMIT with the results!

YOU are responsible for understanding what you are doing and ensuring the resultant signal meets FCC requirements. You cannot do this without technical knowlege. Think of the POWER this gives you!

ALL other services must prove in advance to the FCC that the equipment is correct and get a type acceptance certificate. Users may NOT modify the resulting certified transmitters in ANY WAY.

You can.

Therein lies the difference in the Amateur Radio Service.
 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by HAMESCHEESE on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KH2D and AA0MZ are the two biggest Ham Radio HATE SPREADERS there are! They should both take down their websites and let their license expire. They only try to put other hams down on their websites. KH2D pretends to be a DX station while only in FL. All the while putting any ham down in any way possible. AA0MZ is a big lid. Both are the biggest self appointed Band Police around. Anyone who knows them knows exactly what I am talking about. Ham Radio would be better of without them!

JS
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Gee, such a simple post. Yes ham radio is a hobby!


However I am in awe with some of the feedback.
Personal attacks,one up man ship, and some are just totaly miscreant ravings.

Ham radio seemed to have more of a kindred fellowship
than it does now.

No Ham radio is not dying. However Ham radio is changing.

Yes, some people do choose to be "applience oerators"
I always liked to be able to read my radio's schematic,
and have a good idea of where the I.F.Final output, front end, ect is.

I like the fact that I can repair and modify my own radio as well.

Ham radio just does not have the status it used to have as a hobby.

I remember many times when hurricanes or tropical storms would devistate an area, Hams would use thier HF radio's with a phone patch. This would be of great humanitarian service to familes worried about loved ones.

A public interest story would always air, about a ham and total stranger helping out by providing a life line to loved ones. When was the last time you saw one air?

So, I guess ham radio has as much status as fly fishing. Even though we just do not get a license.

As for some old timer's coping a tude towards newbies, it is not nice but human nature.

In ANY hobby the new jack gets a little ribbing from the more experienced.
When I started Karate as a white belt, we did have to bow down to the black belts. This is an extreme example!

It was the old timers giving me lip that made me Study hard and get my Extra quick! Got the commercial phone too, just to bother them even more!

I know many no code techs, that are very good in electronics. I have to admit when I first heard of the
NO-CODE TECH idea, I did not like it. However after talking to many NCT's on 440, I found them to be excellent operators, and good people.

It would not kill us to be nicer to each other in general.

The MOST STUPID postings I see is when some one will look up some posters call, and say hey you are only a general, or you just got your EXTRA last year! How about this classic...You have a CB background!

What good is that. There is a No-code tech, that has a PHD in biology! He posted how he felt intimidated, to start a QSO on a 2 meter repeater! He got a typical
2 meter greeting. NO RESPONSE!

Ham radio is a hobby for sure. HOWEVER a hobby should relax or divert you from what we have to do with the rest of our lives!

 
What is a Hobby?  
by KE4ZHN on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree in part with Chris on some points he made here. Its sad to see the requirements for a ticket get dumbed down to almost giveaway status. But, as others on this forum have pointed out, and rightly so, we dont make the rules, the FCC does. If the FCC tomorrow decides that you dont need to test for HF, then so be it, thats the way it goes.(my rigs would get sold real quick if that happened!)

But, its not fair of the old timers to expect everyone to be an electronics genius or an engineer either. There will always be "appliance operators" in the hobby. Does this make them bad operators? NO! Not in most cases anyway.

I also dont agree with the classic argument that anyone who cant do 25 wpm isnt a good ham either, this is ridiculous. Lets be realistic, some of us just dont care for certain aspects of this hobby, but that doesnt mean that anyones likes are better then yours or mine. I do think its rather sad to hear new extra`s that cant even wire up a microphone or string up a simple dipole antenna without making a disaster out of it though. I have heard some that dont even know how to operate the radio aside from turning it on and off! I believe that anyone who takes an interest in the hobby should at least take the time to learn the basics. If for nothing else then safeties sake so one doesnt kill himself reaching into a high voltage supply of an amp or something.

No, I dont feel to be a good ham you should be able to build a rig out of scrap parts you found in a dumpster, but if you can, I certainly will admire your skill! There is lots of interesting theory and basic electronic principals to be learned in this hobby without becoming an engineer. For the FCC to simply give away tickets would degrade the hobby by flooding the bands with the typical lids who are so inept, that you would merely have a gigantic CB band. Look what happened to CB when they tossed out all the rules and licensing? The only reason the FCC was so heavily lobbied to dumb down the rules, is so the big 3 can sell more rigs! I dont buy the story about the hobby dying out and this is the only way to get new blood! Bullcrap! Plain and simple, its all about money. The more operators you flood the bands with, the more rigs you sell. Not to mention antennas, amps, etc etc.

This is not simply about CW or no CW. Personally, I feel any potential ham should at least know the very basics before getting on the air, and simply memorizing answers to the test does NOT teach them anything! This doesnt mean they need to be a rocket scientist, but would it kill someone to at least learn what a dipole is and how to cut one for a given band? Would it really hurt them to learn to adjust the mike gain so they dont splatter 20 kc each side? Granted many wives who wish to talk with hubby from the mobile probably dont have this much interest in the hobbies technical side, but it shouldnt discourage them from at least learning enough about it to know if something is wrong with their rig or antenna.

A serious problem in amateur radio today is a lack of good elmers. Some may joke about the old farts and whatever, but these old timers know whats going on! Their knowledge is valuable to newcomers interested in the hobby and its a sad fact many of them just dont seem to care about helping newbies. Although Im no engineer, or expert, far from it, I always enjoy trying to help someone when I can. Those that are older hams shouldnt dismiss newbies just because they arent "experts". Instead, maybe a little push in the right direction is the way to go? Also, if more hams took the time to teach the kids about what a great hobby ham radio can be, their young minds scoop up knowledge like a sponge. But, once again, I agree that most kids today just want it handed to them because they dont have to learn anything! Even someone who decides to become a CB`er has to learn the basics of radio to set up his rig. Unless of course he/she pays someone to install the rig in their car. Then, this opens the door to rip off shops who prey on dummies who simply dont know any better. They get what they deserve then. Theres no excuse for being so lazy, you cant learn ANYTHING about a hobby you wish to be involved in! Even the worst lids on the planet know a little! Why bother to get into a hobby if you dont even have sense enough to learn the very basic knowledge to operate and use your equipment after spending hundreds or thousands of dollars? Thats just plain senseless!

If we tossed away all tests, licensing reqirements, degrees, and diplomas, imagine going to a doctor who doesnt even know which end of his stethoscope to put in his ears! Imagine flying in a plane where the pilot doesnt even know how to read the instruments in the plane! If you just throw away all the rules, you get chaos...happens everytime.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4OOA on June 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is mainly for those that think the exams have gotten too easy.

I think it is time to quit throwing the blame for the dumbing down of amateur radio on the FCC. In 1989 ARRL, the snakes at Newington, petitioned FCC for the no code license.

The test pool is made up by the VEs. We can submit questions when the question pool is changed.

I keep hearing, "The FCC did it."

No! FCC did not do it! ARRL did it! Do you really think FCC cares one way or another what is on the test as long as it meets the international requirements as a minimum?

So now the question is do we listen to Chicken Little about the sky falling or do we chalenge ARRL and tell them what we want?

They won't like what I'm saying. They don't want smarter hams. They want more hams to pay dues and thus assure their inflated salaries.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KA1EZE on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, I wish there were this much communications on the air!

I for one wouldn't mind clogged repeaters instead of many dead silent...

And although it seems that excellent operators who have gotten lax on the electronics are scorned, what about electronics experts that never operate or do so poorly? Is either bad because of this?

Our brain power is somtimes at a premium elsewhere in our occupations etc, so the hobby gets a subset of its full attention.

I for one give a lot of credit to a ham who really understands propogation, works the modes etc, but has little electronics knowledge, that's a pretty good contribution!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
“Behavior and on-air practices are what counts, and “many licensed hams belong on 11 meters.” The use of foul language on air and not identifying at all during a transmission is both bad practice and illegal. If they know better, they just don't care.”

“Some people don't belong on the amateur bands, and that number is growing due to relaxed requirements. Doesn't that bother anyone? Are you afraid to sound old fashioned and crotchety by expecting decent intelligent behavior among our ranks? I'm lamenting the fact that a new breed of hams is degrading our amateur community.”

“I am not setting standards for others to achieve, those standards have always been there. I just hate to lose what good standing we have left”


Same OLD same OLD.

Complaints about Novices not having WN calls (after all, no one could tell by the call it was a Novice!)

Complaints than hams no longer built their equipment (dreaded appliance operators invasion).

We heard this when Bash Books came out—the new hams (who passed their tests by using a study guide) are degrading amateur radio; they are just CBers; they don’t know anything about electronics.

Then it was, the new hams, who studied from question pools and didn’t have to drive to FCC offices to take their test were/are ruining the hobby.

From what I remember, when people were bashing the “Bash Book” hams, one could tune across 80 meters and hear about the “pig farmers” ruining 80 meters. There were hams swearing on the air then. There were hams jamming repeaters; hams interfering with ops they didn’t like; jammers on a DX’s transmit frequency; net controls asking hams to move away from the net’s frequency; frequency police; people complaining about dumb questions Novice’s asked; people complaining about how dumb new generals were; etc, etc. etc.

From what I remember, most of the new hams tried to emulate the hams they heard—they tried to fit in. Hams lead by example, and politely pointed out that we didn’t use that wording or terminology (there isn’t an S in 73 because.. When we arrive someplace, we aren’t destinated, we simply have arrived).

Some hams weren’t polite—they were rude!

Hams that were bullies, bullied other hams.

The people who were sociopath remained that way. People who’s only purpose in life is to aggravate others, aggravated others.

Have FUN
Bob

PS: What is great today, is that it is so easy to find “elemering”—tons of people, some very patient, who are willing to answer just about any question.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by LNXAUTHOR on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
- good lord, i'm glad the author isn't on our local repeater!

- in the same vein, the same could be said about driving licenses, but i think there are more competent hams than drivers out there...

- positive attitudes count in this world, and without a positive attitude by our experienced hams this hobby will die a slow, lingering death...

- there is a tendency towards 'dumbing down' of many aspects of society (at least in the U.S.), which is evidenced by revisions of SAT scoring, modification of high-school education (performance-based learning) methods, and so on... why would licensing of amateur radio operators be different? (not that i'm advocating this, mind you)...

- some of the information, even from hobby 'opinion leaders' such as ARRL is out of date - for example, portions of the ARRL's general class book contain references to vacuum tube operations, and many of the early practical circuits demonstrating basic electronics are now a miniscule part of diminuitive integrated circuits...

- it takes a long time to develop extensive knowledge about a subject, but today's society has a tendency towards 'instant gratification,' which many people discover is not really gratifying in the long run...

- take a positive spin, help out new hams, and help to develop new interests - being an active club member is one way to spark such interests...
 
What is a Hobby?  
by N3NL on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The ham radio clubs can take up the challenge by
offering classes and training on how to read
schematics, repair equipment, and building your own
equipment. In other words, ham radio licensing
courses are not enough. We need courses on doing
ham radio. 73, Nickolaus E. Leggett, N3NL
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by W5YNF on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
OK! FOR THE LAST TIME! PLEASE N2WEC, DO ME A FAVOR AND LOOK AT YOUR LICENSE, LOOKING?....GOOD, NOW SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS "NO CODE TECHNICIAN" ON YOUR LICENSE.
WE ARE TECHNICIANS AND THAT IS ALL THERE IS TO IT PERIOD!, AND CONCERNING THE PROBLEM THE AUTHOR OF THIS WHINE HAS, "IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM"
73 AND PROUD TO BE A TECH.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K1MKF on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that any hobby has members that participate at different levels. You have HAM "operators", kit builders and equipment designers. No one is better than the other in my opinion, only different.

But, just like other hobbies, those that participate to the extreme will look down on or belittle those that are more casual. Go to a car club and watch the mechanics talk about the guys that pay for service.

You just have to enjoy what you do and ingore the detractors. By doing so you create a better image of HAM radio for all to see.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WB4QNG on June 14, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A hobby is whatever you want it to be. If you studied enough to pass the test then you have the right to do what ever you want to do as long as it is legal. If you want to build things and talk technical talk more power to you. If you wnat to talk to your xyl about what is for supper more power to you too. The hobby has changed in the last 27 years I have been in it but then what hasn't. I know it has changed for me. I know I would no more stick a screw driver into the interworkings of my two year Icom than I would take a screw driver to my two year old Ford. 25 years ago I lived under the cover of my old HW101 as well as under the hood of my 68 Olds. Times have changed. I do know when I show my equipment that people get turned off when they only here hams talking about their radios. I also know that for the last 30 minuts the only thing I have heard on the 15+ repeaters in my area is the ID's. A little conversation of any kind would be nice. Terry WB4QNG
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W9QR on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris,
Interesting comments. I think of Amateur Radio as a service. A service to the citizens of each nation. I have worked in most of the other services, such as TV, FM and AM Broadcasting, Land and specialized mobile radio, Microwave Radio, Electronic Warfare and several others. I think amateur radio is the most unique. It is the only service that permits reliable long distance commuications between two civilian stations with out the need for a third party.
Because I am rapidly approaching 50 years in this service,I encourage every newcomer to learn as much as possible and to enjoy the challenge and excitement of radio communications. I encourge them to make themselves useful to their fellow citizens. When I teach theory and troubleshooting classes I try to instill a desire for excellence in their technical understanding. I think that if our expectations are reasonable, others will try to "live up" to them. Many old-timers fail to rise to the challenge of helping the newcomer. That situation needs to change!
73, Larry, W9QR
 
What is a Hobby?  
by VK3HCG on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Radio , for me at least , is a fantastic hobby . The mere fact i can communicate with a virtual stranger some miles away or even a world away is very satisfying indeed . There will always be operators at different ends of the technical spectrum and all of our interests in the hobby of radio differ to some degree.I may well be one of the offenders you speak of in you posting , i do not posses the greatest of technical knowledge and i don't really aspire to either , i just want to be able to enjoy talking at my radio station in a manner i enjoy and within guidelines and regulations .What irks me are the elitests that " let you know " in no uncertain terms how far " beneath !! " their abilities you are .I have had stations send code to me far beyond my capabilities and when i requested they send slower it falls on deaf ears and 30 wpm is continually sent, i am sorry i am not up to their speed i think to myself. Can't we just let people enjoy something they like doing without making it too elitest???
 
What is a Hobby?  
by MA1NBL on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
How do you expect people to become more experienced and knowledgeable if they don't use their equipment? It appears to me that someone of your supposed incredibly advanced knowledge would be willing to share some of it with beginner hams and teach them instead of berating them. Possibly these people are looking for a mentor, or information regarding where they can study and learn enough to please someone of your superior abilities and should not be subjected to criticism. You suggest that these people are "too lazy and/or stupid" to pass the requirements and that they should get an easier hobby. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hobby as: "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation". It seems to me you have a completely different definition of the word. And by the way, piloting a plane and operating on people are not hobbies as you suggest in your snide and condescending article, they are careers. Maybe you need to check the dictionary before you scold and reprimand others. And one final comment, there is a function in word processing called "spell check" which you are apparently unaware of. My suggestion to you is that if you do not know how to use the computer with the same degree of knowledge that you use your radios, please find a secretary to do your typing for you.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4SCJ on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It seems these days that some people have a solution to everything and always have a negative comment about any and all things.I personally concern myself with much more important things. Why do some people always want to argue and consider themselves superior to others.This comment is NOT directed towards ANYONE in particular in any way.thanks kg4scj carry on.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WD4AWO on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I plead guilty as charged. I'm a perfect fit for KG4WKR's profiling of a newer ham because I enjoy talking to my former neighbors in W4 (FL), W8 (OH), W9 (IL), 6Y (Jamaica) and V5 (SW Africa) about the weather, their families, pets, and health concerns which has absolutely nothing to do with electronic theory and/or applications.
I suppose that I am seriously in error for doubting that I could make their day by enlightening them about anything having to do with the subject of electronics.
However,it would just bore them to the point of turning off their radios and we can't have that, so, I suppose we'll just have to continue with our non technical discussions that we pursue on a daily basis.
KG4WKR is welcome to join us on 14.275, 21.302, 28.497 and 50.135 Monday - Friday from 1300 UTC until 2200 UTC. It appears as if has has the technical ability to overcome poor band conditions and deliberate qrmr's to assist us in becoming more technologiaclly informed.
He may be able to further enlighten some of the amateurs who helped put the first men on the moon and developed the technology that now allows Nextel to market Direct Connect service as a nationwide service.
Should KG4WKR not be able to overcome the above mentioned obstacles of band conditions and qrmr's, the non-technical hams on the afore-mentioned frequencies will be glad to assist him in enhancing his station by providing him with superior engineering hints via email, but not over the air, as we don't want to damage our reputations on amateur radio of being percieved as dummies.
BTW, all hams had to start from scratch, so to speak.
Maybe, just maybe, the YL that KG4WKR was so upset with may have been someone's mother who had just passed her test and now was finally able to talk with her children and grandchildren who may live 40 miles away because her son installed radio equipment in her house and automobile. She may even live on a very meager fixed income and can't afford the long-distance charges to communicate with her loved ones on a regular basis. Amateur radio may have just solved some of her problems. And, just think, if she happens to live another 10 years she might know what antenna and radio her son provided so that she can communicate with her loved ones. Until then, she probably is very content in making new friends as she talks with her relatives.
Hopefully, KG4WKR was discreet enough to extend his hand in friendship on the radio to her and not complain about her lack of knowledge.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by KG4WKR on June 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you, everyone, for your insightful and on-target responses. I now see the error of my ways and believe, as do many of you, that people with no interest whatsoever in radio (as that was what I was talking about all along) should be given any license class they desire. However, I shall continue to help those newbies who ARE interested, because old habits die hard. Hopefully I and my generation will die off soon, as one poster was longing for, and younger folks will take the reins and bring radio into a new age. Also, please forgive my spelling mistakes, for I know well that spelling counts. Continue your enlightening discussion without further interruption from me, as my comments were irrelevant to most of your postings anyway. 73, and peace.
- Chris
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Is sarcasm a hobby?
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by NN6EE on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Gentlemen! Gentlemen?

Chris is absolutely right about his observations of the present-day licensing system and some of you guys ignored that? Shame on you!

The present system is dumbed-down to the point where there is absolutely NO incentive to learn about Electronics/Radio, NONE!!! There are exceptions to that of course and they are more than welcome into our fantastic Hobby/Service!!!

The vast majority of Boys/Girls only have to MEMORIZE the material easily and then get on and YAK (VOICE)!!!

Ewwwww CW? No way!!! It's toooo hard to learn even at 5wpm?

It's too bad that not enough people have the DISCIPLINE
to expend a modicum of effort to want to learn it!!!

:-(((
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W8OB on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another thing that gets me is from time to time you read that "todays exams are so much harder than the good ole days" True the material may go into somewhat deeper details than it used to but in the good ole days you didn't get a book with all the answers in it to memorize. For my novice test I studied the ameco license guide as well as the ARRL guide. Yes a good portion of the questions were in the study guides but I also had several that were not answered word for word in the study guide, you had to know the theory to pass the test simple. I just don't see how giving the answers before the test is solving anything. Hey I wonder if the university entrance exams are doing this now? I may have to go back and get a Phd.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
What ever your skill level/ license class is, every Ham did take the trouble to get a ticket.

It did take some effort. If you wanted the no brain
way, you could just be freebanding, and pay the FCC $75
for a GMRS ticket. I have listened to many GMRS repeaters. They do not sound that much different than 2 meters at times.

The GMRS guys refused to take any test at all. Just pony up $75, and the FCC will email you your GMRS ticket. You even get to print your ticket with your home PC, after your credit card clears!

Some GMRS ops want to take the extra effort and get tested for a ham ticket. Other GMRS ops think of us hams are a bunch of shnooks for wasting time taking ANY test.

I think some have been a little rough with the author. It is his opinion. Everyone has an opinion.

Well thats just my 2 cents of opinion or literary trash!
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris’s point was/is that many hams do no meet his expectation (that hams know about “radio”).

He is correct, many hams don’t meet his expectation.

The FCC determins the testing procedure.

The knowledge one has to acquire to become a ham is determined by the FCC through the question pools. Anyone can submit questions to be included in the question pool.

I didn’t read any questions, for the question pool, that have been proposed so that hams could meet Chris’s expectations.

In fact, I haven’t seen anyone on this site propose questions for the question pool so that new hams would meet their expectations—I see a LOT of complaining, and some times denegration of new hams.

When I was a Novice, I knew little about my hobby of ham radio. I learned more by studying for tests, and by reading about what interested me. Other hams helped me. The more years I am in the hobby, the more I learn.

After I passed my General test (at an FCC field office), a ham yelled at me that I didn’t belong on the air (10 meters at the time) because I didn’t know what class my SB220 amp used. I was just one of those new “appliance operators”-- no better than a CBer. Dam appliance operators were ruining the hobby, and didn’t belong on the air.

I remember wondering if hams really were friendly (it was one of my first times on the air as a general).

For my Extra exam, I studied from the newly developed question pool.

I don't remember how to run my TS 950S on FM; don't think I ever have--I don't know all about my radio. If I ran it on FM, and wanted to use my amp, I'd have to look up what settings to use--I don't know all about my amp either.

I may not meet Chris’s expectations, even though I am not a new ham.

I may not meet some other hams’ expectations.

However, I have met the FCC’s expectations.

I keep on “playing radio” and trying to be a good op.

Have Fun

Bob, headed through my third sunspot cycle.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by AC7GO on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
NN6EE raises interesting points about memorization as a means of passing the exams.

I have mixed feelings about memorization. Some of the questions are about such obscure details of the ham regulations that you would have a very hard time learning those particular answers by studying the regulations in general. So memorization is about the only feasible method. Novice, Technician, and Advanced levels (pre-2000 tests) were filled with questions about obscure details. Upon trying to learn answers to that kind of question by making a general study, I quickly found that no reasonable amount of study would have given me a background sufficiently broad and detailed to answer such questions. So with regret, I just started memorizing. And it truly was easy to memorize the answers, just as NN6EE indicates.

On the other hand, General and Extra question pools dealt mostly with matters of theory - technical matters. One familiar with electrical engineering, antennas, propagation, etc., could pass those exams without study at all. And if one did not have that background, learning the few mathematical principles behind those exam questions provided enough to figure out the right answers without memorization.

It would be nice if the non-technical questions could be cast into a form such that one could have a reasonable chance of passing by studying the legal code (section 97). Even though that is not the case now, those questions about obscure details do serve a purpose - memorizing the answers exposes a person to the material to some degree. With that in mind, that type of question should be cast into such a form that memorizing a correct answer exposes the aspiring ham to material that is relevant and important in actual operation.

Maybe the questions about non-technical matters ought to have more to do with where to find the details than with the details themselves. I know there are some who would completely freak out at my next suggestion, which is that some sections could be effectively administered in "open book" format using an un-published question pool. The "book" would be a copy of the FCC regulations, section 97, which we hams should have copies of anyway. To study for the "open book" exam, one would have to become familiar with Section 97, and learn where stuff is. A novel idea, huh? Hams having not only technical knowledge but legal understanding as a result of studying for the exams. Kind of like Americans reading and understanding the Constitution.

 
What is a Hobby?  
by KB1JPB on June 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Something I wrote for Eham (on the need for better communications skills on Eham), but that apparently did not make center column, might be appropos here:

http://www.eham.net/articles/5661

The only addendum to the piece is that I passed my General test last Monday, and today it became official on the FCC website. [woohoo!]

Enjoy.

73,

Jason, KB1JPB
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N3IJW on June 17, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Congrats Jason!

*studies harder*
 
What is a Hobby?  
by W3BIG on June 17, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hobbies, first and foremost, should be enjoyable. I think most hams DO enjoy the radio hobby. But, like any other hobby, whether bike riding, stamp collecting or rock climbing, individuals get into it at different levels of intensity. Some are more passionate, some less so. Some enjoy the technical aspects of ham radio while others enjoy rag-chewing. I think in our evolution we all go through different phases of the amateur radio hobby.

I, too, was initially concerned that the no-code policy would spell the end of ham radio. It would dilute, or worse yet, pollute our ranks with individuals who didn't work as hard as we did to earn our tickets. I thought it would bring a lack of discipline and air of disrespect that would ultimately destroy the nature of ham radio. I admit my concerns were largely unfounded.

Most of the new hams I've encountered seem just as enthusiastic as I was when I first got my ticket 25 years ago. I think ham radio will not only survive, but thrive with the new blood. If the newcomers sometimes seem green or are in need of a little friendly advice or operating guidance, that should be the cue for oldtimers to step up and provide assistance or perhaps demonstrate on-air role-modeling.

I think we hams have to remember we are a fraternity of brothers and sisters. We should always demonstrate respect and courtesy to fellow amateurs and be ready with a kind word and helping hand to our own. Remember, a radio is useless without someone else to talk to.

73, Bob W3BIG
 
What is a Hobby?  
by 10-4GOODBUDDY on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Attention Amature Radio Operators: Stop beating us CBer's to death. we are people just like you.

Listen, CB is dead outside of Interstate Highways, and the deep south. And even then its mostly limited to channel 19 traffic reports. kinda like ya amatures do, cept it helps me avoid long delays because of traffic jams, which ya amatures have plenty of down there on those 40, and 80 meters.

So what, if us CB guys are all buying the ARRL's "Tech Q&A" book to learn the answers to the questions; what skin is it off your back? We love communicating!

It's people like you that are ruining the amature service, becuse your too busy building your communication devices; to use em much.

----------------------------
Thats a big 10-4 Good Buddys



 
What is a Hobby?  
by KD7WLM on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I just got my callsign this week and my license hasn't even arrived in the mail yet, so you could say I'm new to the hobby. The only other ham I know studied for his tech. test by taking the QRZ practice test over and over until he would pass it every time. This was his suggestion to me when I asked him about studying. I know that I could have just poured over the question pool and figured out the right answers evntually, but I wanted a deeper understanding of what I needed to know. So being a poor college student, I still threw down 20 bucks at HRO and bought the ARRL study guide, which just happened to be for the new pool starting in July. I felt much more confident at the test and I feel like I "earned" my license. I'm sure I could have spent years studying the theory and principles to know it like they used to make you know it or whatever the complaint is, but the fact is, I did what was required. What else can a new amateur do. It's just a shame that my time machine is in the shop or I could have gone back 40 years and done it the "right" way.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WA2JJH on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I do not think we should bash hams that got their ticket by memorisation. Thy did taake time out of thier life to get the ticket.

I am one of those that did it the hard way. Every element Ham or commercial, I did understand the theory.
Very little memorisation.

You do not know how the memorisers will turn out to be. Most of the hobby you really get down is by years of operation.

A few that did it the hard way, I Have found to be miserable ultra OCD-AR, will not help anybody Hams.
Nasty and condesending.

The Hams that did it the memory way, may turn out to be model Hams. It is what you do after you have the ticket that counts! Some of the memorises might learn the theory as the stay in the hobby. I am sure many of them after the buzz of making contacts, might learn to read a radio schematic. I have found just having QSO's
one can pick up information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Like I said before, one could be just freebanding, and/or whimp out. Pay $75 and become a GMRS ham wannabe. No test at all. Just a good credit card.

Do we have to be such segregationist as to ham radio.
Does that help anybody....NO! It seemed in the old days we all helped each other. Now it is like who is SUPERHAM!

Have a surrueal day. MIKE
 
What is a Hobby?  
by WB8ROL on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Actually I can't agree totally with your premise -- that Ham Radio is a hobby. Actually it can be a hobby BUT it is NOT ONLY a hobby. It is described in part 97 of the F.C.C. regulations as also being a service. The purposes of Ham Radio are clearly stated in part 97 and being technically competent is covered as ONE purpose BUT certainly not the sole reason for the service. Ham Radio was also created to spread international (and national) good will and provide public assistance and emergency communications.

Spreading good will and lending assistance during public activities and emergencies may at times take a certain amount of technical and/or operating ability BUT not all that much is required any more with modern rigs, antennas, and associated equipment -- all available commercially.

Not all hams need to be technical wizards -- in fact, most have never been. The ones who are NOT more knowledgeable (sp?) contribute in their way and fulfill other aspects/purposes outlined in part 97.

Do some hams need to have more knowledge of better operating practices and procedures? Certainly, and when they screw up the rest of us can politely explain to them the right way to do things.

Can many hams benefit from having more technical skills and knowledge -- certainly, but they may not NEED it to fulfill the reasons for the service as stated in part 97.

My father was an electronic technician for many many years and built numerous transmitters, transceivers, converters, etc. as a Ham. He also worked on high level government communication projects -- but he really really struggled to learn code at 5 wpm AND never used it to my knowledge. And he didn't operate much either -- didn't like talking. Does that make him a bad Ham? No, not in my opinion -- because he did fulfill one of the reasons for the service.

Was he stupid? Not by any sane definition -- only by people who think learning C.W. has something to with advanced intelligence ...

My sister has never built anything I know of but she has talked to a lot of people around the world on Ham radio -- does that make her a bad Ham? Not in my opinion -- just like I stated before.

Was she stupid because she never used C.W.? I would pit her (and her various degrees) against many C.W. operators I have talked to .....

As far as code requirements -- I think a lot of folks enjoy C.W. BUT I also think it is assinine to keep it as a requirement. I think most of the 2600 folks meeting at the I.A.R.U. will probably agree with me soon ... in print ...

Ham radio, as stated in part 97, has many purposes and in my opinion was never meant to be an elitist club - which is what I keep hearing in the echos of all the folks who talk about privileges and purely arbitrary exclusionary practices. Obviously, there should be some requirements BUT the real question is what they should be -- to best fulfill the stated purposes of Ham radio.


 
RE: No, it's not dying  
by WB8ROL on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
AC0X - Do you have any statistics on how many of those hams are actually active? The statistics you quote don't convince me at all -- I still think Ham radio is fading out in the U.S.A. -- albeit slowly. I listen to the bands today as compared to the 60's, 70's and 80's -- and the activity has markedly declined (and not just during sunspot lulls either).

BTW, I read a statistic that over 9% of the population knew how to use the hoola hoop (actually bought or used one). Wonder how many currently own and use one .....

If you don't know what a hoola hoop is look it up -- there is still avid interest in them from a very tiny small part of the population -- but not 9% or anywhere near it ...

 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by AD6WL on June 18, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ham Radio is different things to different people. Some will memorize the test and just be apliance operators. Others will learn radio elecetronics and experiment. There's public service, rag chewing, DXing, contesting, kit building etc. As long as they are operating within the rules and regulations there is no problem.
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KG4QNX on June 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Take a Geritol or something and go wireless you'll live longer without all that stress. You can use your code on your Nextel...
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by AB5XZ on June 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To AD6WL
Right on!
When I first got into ham radio, many years ago, there was a local ham, "Doc", who we called an "appliance operator". He didn't really care much about how it worked, but he loved hamming. Last time I visited the old club, those who remembered "Doc" spoke well of him. It takes all kinds of people to make ham radio what it is. Besides, the person who doesn't know what kind of radio he has might welcome an offer to do a little Elmering.

73TomAB5XZ
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N3VY on June 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My sentiment exactly! I first bacame licensed at age 74, and went from zero to Extra Class in seven months. I have no time to waste, hi. To communicate in Morse code is the reason I got the license. 100% cw is my pleasure. I don't care if it's required, or not. I've learned other things about radio along the way, naturally, and never expect to know it all.
N3VY
 
What is a Hobby?  
by K0PD on June 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Don't know but i'm a 20 word a minute extra class does that mean that the new 5wpm extra classes will no longer be welcome to the hobby they enjoy.Oh today i'd be lucky to copy 10wpm so i guess that mean's i'm not enjoying my hobby properly? Come on let's get real about this now getting to be old hat argument and except and improve on the changes in ham radio.If you were to ask the europeon's they think were behind the time's in ham radio as code is no longer a requirement nor the last i heard is building your own radio.Yes i've built my share of antennas and worked on my own rig's before they got so darned complicated.As for the test given today, now i do not know this for sure but i was told the written test for the pilots who fly the jumbo airliners take the same type of multiple choice test that you have to study and memorize the answer.I read somewhere that supposedly your brain actually retain's more of what you read than the old standard way of testing.So whether you want to admit it or not if it was not for the CBer's that have become ham's ,ham radio would be more desperate than it is now to gain more member's.So if you and your friend's want to get together and build/work or just talk radio that's fine with me just as the ham's who want to talk gardening.So quit being so critical and as long as they are obeying the rule's let them ENJOY their ham radio.
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N5ACM on June 23, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It is true, FAA written tests are very similar to Amateur radio tests. An applicant can memorize the answers for most of the lower licenses, but the higher licenses contain too much information to memorize, pilots must understand fairly complex peformance problems for the advanced tickets.

Make no mistake however, there is a huge difference in obtaining an aeronautical license- the applicant must also pass an oral exam followed by a practical flying test. At the professional level, this includes sim checks followed by demonstrating proficiency in the aircraft to a check pilot and FAA observer. This assures competence and proficiency, not to mention the recurring testing requirements. It would be interesting to see HAMs have to requalify as pilots do today- every six months, year, or two years depending upon occupation. Oh, and don't forget unannounced check rides every year too! I really don't think we want to go there.

It is of great interest to me as to why we look to the government for MORE regulation to fix our minor annoyances. Why folks want the FCC to step in and solve all of these perceived slights, while at the same time complain about having to join an organization (seemingly for every hobby or interest worthy of our participation by the way), that then has to lobby the same government from taking away the priviledges that we have now!

Be careful of what you wish for...

Jay

N5ACM
 
RE: What is a Hobby?  
by N0JYC on June 23, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Chris, I hope you wrote this to purposely sound like the whiner it portrays....just to stir things up. Otherwise, I think you're part of a problem. Ham radio offers so many different things that everyone can find their niche. So what if there are hams who are only interested in DXing? So what if a woman ham didn't have the information about her radio and antenna at her fingertips when you talked to her? Quite possibly her OM (ham also) installed it. So what, so what, so what? Everyone who passes their ham exams DOES have the right to do all the things you are whining about.

YOUR POINTS ARE WEAK AND FLAWED!
 
What is a Hobby?  
by KB3JNR on June 25, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a new amateur who came for the adventure of playing with RF and learning about electronics along the way. I also still love to talk about the commute, politics, and any of the other totally strange things that come across the airwaves. Hams come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and so do their discussions.

Ham radio is a big place and there's a lot around for all comers. Besides, some of those people you are broadbrushing simply haven't had anyone to light them on fire about the tech. Maybe they don't have a lot of time to experiment. Maybe they are afraid of failing. Or being ridiculed by someone like yourself.

Ham radio is a hobby, and not everyone has to be focused on the exact same thing for it to be fun and fulfilling. Yeah, there are a lot of people whining about not wanting to have to do CW, but those people would be there regardless. They'll still be whining about it after I've taught my kids and helped them get their licenses. Big deal, we're all not the same.

V~
 
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